A fully-funded bill to construct the proposed southern border wall is to be introduced in the House of Representatives this week in an attempt to insert an immigration policy referendum into the midterm elections, which are now less than four weeks away. CNN reports that House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (CA-23), a close ally of President Donald Trump, has been working on the border wall legislation to fund the project, which currently carries a price tag of approximately $23.4 billion.
Although the bill has yet to attract cosponsors, “This is priority for both Kevin and the President,” a spokesperson said.
Congress has already directed $1.6 billion to fund the border wall construction in the fiscal year 2018 omnibus spending bill. Though, Congressman McCarthy’s legislation, called the “Build the Wall, Enforce the Law Act,” would provide for the entire installment of the wall to protect the U.S.-Mexico border, as well as providing for a variety of enforcement measures to uphold immigration policy.
At a recent press conference, outgoing Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (WI-1) hinted at a border wall funding fight after the elections are completed.
“We intend on having a full-fledged discussion on how to complete our mission to secure the border, and yes, we will have a fight about this,” Ryan said.
The bill from the California Republican will not address the situation of coming to a deal with Democratic lawmakers that want to keep the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Act in place, but will only respond to Trump’s campaign promise of building the wall and to strengthen the enforcement of immigration law.
If the legislation is passed through the House before the midterms, the Senate will most likely not vote on the bill until January, getting it to President Trump’s desk in early 2019 at the quickest pace if all goes according to plan.