House Republicans are considering using a 2006 law signed by former President George W. Bush to make good on President-elect Donald Trump’s promise to build a wall on the U. S. border with Mexico, Politico reported.
According to Politico, the 11-year-old law, the Secure Fence Act, authorized the construction of 700 miles-plus of “physical barrier” on the southern border, but was never fully implemented and did not include a sunset provision.
However, Politico reported another part of Trump’s campaign promise – that Mexico would pay for the border wall – is not part of the plan, and funding through Congress is likely to run into resistance from Democrats, Politico reported.
“There’s already in existing law the authorization for hundreds of miles of build out on the southern border . so, one important step in the right direction will be funding the existing law and beginning the building out of hundreds of miles of wall, or fence, on the southern border,” the House Republican Policy Committee chair, Indiana GOP Rep. Luke Messer, told Politico.
“If tied to the rest of government funding, it’s much harder for the Democrats to stop, and by the way, I think it’s much harder for Democrats to vote against it if what you’re doing is authorizing funding for an existing law,” he added.
The tentative plan would likely be just a piece of a broader, multi-year border security strategy, Politico reported.
The cost of a border wall is estimated anywhere from a few billion dollars to as much as $14 billion; that doesn’t include other costs associated with the building and maintenance, Politico reported.
“I think the sooner Republicans can get it done the better because [Trump] made such an issue out of it,” New York GOP Rep. Peter King, the former chairman of the Homeland Security Committee – who authored the 2006 bill currently being considered – told Politico.
Other wall funding vehicles being considered include the 2018 appropriations bill for the Homeland Security Department and a stand-alone legislative package, Politico reported.