On ABC’s “This Week,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said that the Mexican government will not outright pay for the border wall prescribed by President Donald Trump, but said that there is more than one way to obtain the billions of dollars required for construction. Speaking on Sunday, Sessions said of the wall, "We're going to get it paid for one way or the other."

The wall, Sessions said, will serve to interdict the inflow of narcotics and prevent the entry of the MS-13 narcoterrorist organization. Mexico, Sessions said, will pay for the wall "in some form." In a tweet on Sunday, President Trump wrote: “The Democrats don't want money from budget going to border wall despite the fact that it will stop drugs and very bad MS 13 gang members.” In another tweet, he wrote, “Eventually, but at a later date so we can get started early, Mexico will be paying, in some form, for the badly needed border wall.”

Getting Congress to pony up funding for the wall within his first 100 days as president was one of Trump’s promises in his "Contract with the American Voter." The president has also suggested that the wall could be paid for by taxing the remittances or cash transfers sent by persons within the U.S. to those in Mexico.

In his interview on “This Week,” Sessions said that a report by the Treasury Department showed that the Obama administration made excess payments of about $4 billion a year to persons who should have received the fund. Stanching that flow of money, he said, could pay for the wall. "These are mostly Mexicans," Sessions said. "And those kind of things add up. Four billion a year for 10 years is 40 billion."

 

In 2011, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration reported that persons not authorized to work in the U.S. received $4.2 billion in refundable tax credits in one year. The Customs and Border Protection agency estimates the cost of the wall at $21.6 billion. Democrats put the figure much higher, in excess of $66.9 billion. Sessions suggested that other actions can be taken at the border and trade to fund the wall. He said, however, that the Mexican government itself will not pay for the wall.

"I don't expect the Mexican government to appropriate money for it," Sessions said. "But there are ways that we can deal with our trade situation to create the revenue to pay for it. No doubt about it." The White House requested $1 billion as "down payment" from Congress to start building the wall. Other Trump administration officials said in televised interviews on Sunday that funding the wall is a priority in budget negotiations ahead of a potential government shutdown Friday.



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