As Senate Republicans watched their final chance to repeal President Obama’s Affordable Care Act crumble before their very eyes, their GOP colleagues across the Capitol rotunda were busy trying to help President Trump achieve his other big promise: the border wall.
By a vote of 235–192, largely along party lines, the House of Representatives on Thursday approved $1.6 billion to begin construction on Trump’s signature wall. The money came as part of a $827 billion dollar spending bill, which provided funds for government agencies and departments such as the Pentagon and Veterans Affairs. It was added to the larger bill by House Republicans eager to make good on President Trump’s promise, but hoping to avoid a straight up-or-down vote on the wall itself, which has proven to be widely unpopular with voters.
While the wall, as Trump has described it, will almost certainly cost many times more than $1.6 billion, the fact that the house approved any money at all for the project flies in the face of the president’s longstanding promise that Mexico, and not the U.S., would foot the bill. Faced, however, with Mexico’s repeated insistence that they will do no such thing, Trump has moderated his promise, insisting that any taxpayer money spent on the wall’s construction will instead be payed back by Mexico at a later date.
However, the wall’s eventual funding remains unclear, as Senate Democrats—and many Republicans—have expressed serious doubts about its necessity and feasibility. According to Reuters, Texas’ Ted Cruz has been the only Republican Senator from more than half a dozen states which voted for Trump in 2016, to support the proposed wall in recent weeks.