Rep. Walter Jones is worried that President Donald Trump’s proposed border wall will add to the federal debt — so worried, in fact, that he’s proposing the president pony up some of his own money for the wall.
“If Mexico isn’t going to be made to pay for a wall, that means funds must be found internally,” the North Carolina Republican said in a statement Friday.
“As a wealthy man, the president might consider pledging some of his own funds as well [to help build the wall],” Jones said. “Whatever it takes, just so long as we don’t add to the debt that is bankrupting our great country.”
Funding for the president's proposed wall along the U.S.-Mexico border is the key issue separating Democrats and Republicans from reaching a fiscal year 2019 spending deal. Parts of the government has been shuttered for 10 days.
Trump promised on the 2016 campaign trail that Mexico would pay for the wall. Mexico has not paid for the wall. Its government and diplomats have made clear they do not intend for Mexico to pay for the wall.
Jones and other Republicans have argued that the wall must be built to stem illegal border crossings, but the government needs a “fiscally responsible plan” to pay for the project.
“America’s national debt is nearly $22 trillion. Next year our annual deficit is projected to top $1 trillion. We can’t afford to keep financing the provision of government services by borrowing more and more money. It’s morally irresponsible and it’s got to stop,” Jones said.
In addition to Trump offering some of his own money, Jones also suggested slashing funds for ongoing military operations in Afghanistan and other foreign aid programs and trimming "wasteful federal spending."
The suggestion that private citizens offer their own money to help fund the wall is no longer a novel idea.
More than 300,000 people have donated $18 million so far to a GoFundMe page to “fund the wall,” or 1.8 percent of the page’s goal of $1 billion.
Correction 2:40 p.m. | An earlier version of this story misstated the percentage of its goal that a GoFundMe page had raised to fund the wall.
Watch: Remember When Donald Trump Wanted Mexico To Pay for the Wall?