House Freedom Caucus chairman Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) is willing to let the government shut down unless Congress passes a budget that funds the construction of a border wall along the southern U.S. border, Breitbart News, a far-right publication closely allied with the White House, reported Monday.
During a phone interview with Breitbart’s Matthew Boyle on Monday, Meadows said that there are enough members in Congress to force a government shut down in the fall unless there is an explicit provision for the construction of President Donald Trump’s wall along the southern U.S. border with Mexico.
“There is nothing more critical that has to be funded than funding the border wall for two reasons,” Meadows told Breitbart News. “One is it is a commitment that the president made to the American people and one that he intends on keeping, but the second part of that is for our national security we must secure our borders. And the American people will accept no less.”
The government is currently funded only through the end of September. At that time, the government will need to pass another budget bill to prevent a full stop of most government functions. Meadow’s threat follows Trump’s tweet from May calling for a “good shutdown” to fix the mess in government.
The government shutdown of 2013 cost anywhere between $12 billion and $24 billion, a figure that in part takes into account lost wages, business, tourism, and other factors that hurt the U.S. economy. (For instance, when national parks like the Grand Canyon or the Grand Teton are closed, tourism drops and businesses in nearby areas are seriously impacted.)
The president has long preyed on U.S. taxpayer concerns over national insecurity and the unauthorized flow of migration to promise a border wall that prevents would-be terrorists and border crossers.
Yet shutting down the government to build the border wall actually walks back Trump’s repeated promise to force the Mexican government to pay for the construction costs associated with the border wall.
On his campaign page that has since been deleted, Trump’s immigration plan claimed he would make Mexico pay by exerting economic pressure like impounding remittance payments. “In short, the Mexican government has taken the United States to the cleaners,” Trump’s campaign plan indicated. “They are responsible for this problem, and they must help pay to clean it up.”
As recently as three days ago, at the G20 summit of world leaders, Trump said he “absolutely” expects Mexico to pay for the wall.
It’s not entirely clear why the president’s border wall is necessary. Realistically, roughly 700 miles of a physical barrier was already completed under his predecessor and has served as an adequate deterrent. What’s more, a majority of Americans, including those living in border states, oppose funding the president’s border wall.