Sen. Cassidy: Don’t need Congress for border wall, ending shutdown

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U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy from Louisiana says he’s come up with a solution to the partial government shutdown which would fund President Trump’s border wall and it doesn’t require House Democrats to sign off on it.

“One thing I’ve been concerned about cartels move about one hundred billion dollars out of the United States to other countries, from illicit activity. we only get about ten billion of it. We only get 10 percent. If we get more of it it’s a greater slam to the cartel’s business model,” said Senator Cassidy. 

According to Cassidy using the extra money from that stepped up effort is an idea that President Trump and many of his colleagues could get behind.

“It’s the Mexican cartels paying for the wall, and that would be such sweet justice,” said Cassidy. 

Cassidy says when he told the President about his plan during a personal phone call, the President seemed open to it. 

“The nice thing about this is Congress does not appropriate money in the asset forfeiture fund. It’s one the Executive Branch controls itself, so he could use this money without congressional approval. So it’s a way forward even if Miss Pelosi has decided she is not as interested in securing the southern border.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has described President Trump’s effort to build a border wall as an obsession, and a waste of billions of taxpayer dollars. 

Both sides have vowed to not back down. 

“Pelosi holds all the cards, she could today just say OK, you got 3 billion dollars, or 5 billion dollars. In a federal budget that’s a rounding error. She could end this shutdown today,” said Cassidy. 

President Trump has asked Congress for 5 billion dollars to build a wall along the U.S. and Mexico border.

But Democrats have refused to include that money in a spending bill. The result has been the longest running partial government shutdown in U.S. history. 

Cassidy’s plan is seen as an end-run around Congress and if accepted by the President it would end the shutdown without either side having to admit defeat.

President Trump gets a wall he promised, and Democrats can say they didn’t vote for it. 

Senator Cassidy told President Trump he wants to increase law enforcement efforts at the border, and use the extra 4 to 5 billion dollars seized from the Mexican drug cartels to pay for the wall, which would not have to be approved by Congress. 

“We had a personal phone call last weekend and he’s open to it but he’d still like to have congressional appropriation. I’m looking for a way to move forward. I want the wall built, I want the southern border secure, so I’m trying to float other ideas,” said Cassidy. 

But Cassidy believes compromise with his democratic colleagues and congressional approval is still necessary. 

“Which would allow the Executive Branch to bond out future receipts. Every year we get at least 3 billion and usually about 5 billion dollars from confiscation of these illicit monies. So if you pass legislation allowing this to be bonded out then you could bond out future receipts, we’ve done it in Louisiana for Coastal Restoration money so I know it can be done. So you still would need the cooperation of Congress and that’s where the compromise comes in,” said Cassidy. 

When asked what the chances are that President Trump would actually adopt his plan Cassidy said, “Right now I’m just working on it, ask me in a week and I’ll find out from my colleagues. I’ve received very positive feedback from a number of them.” 

Recent polls have indicated a majority of Americans blame the President for the government shutdown. 

The longer the stalemate continues and hundreds of thousands of federal employees go without pay the more appealing these alternate ideas might look to both the President and Congress. 

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