(CNSNews.com) - White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Tuesday that President Donald Trump asked “every agency to look and see if they have money’ that can be used to build a border wall.
During a White House press briefing, Sanders was asked to clarify the White House’s current position on the continuing resolution to fully fund the federal government, whether Trump is willing to accept $1.6 billion for the wall, and whether he will support a CR to revisit the matter after the Christmas break.
“You know, at this point, the Senate has thrown out a lot of ideas. We're disappointed in the fact that they've yet to actually vote on something and pass something. So when they do that, we'll make a determination on whether or not we're going to sign that. In the meantime, we're looking at every avenue available to us possible,” Sanders said.
“The president has asked every one of his cabinet secretaries to look for funding that can be used to protect our borders and give the president the ability to fulfill his constitutional obligation to protect the American people by having a secure border. So we're looking at the other options. In the meantime, we'll see what the Senate does, and we'll let you know when we have an announcement on that front,” she added.
“And if they can find that money, does that mean the president would accept a budget proposal that does not include any money to fund new border wall construction?” a reporter asked.
The press secretary said the White House wants to see what the Senate can pass.
“They've thrown out a lot of ideas. They've yet to take a vote. Once they do that -- we're disappointed in the process and their inability to put something forward. Once they make a decision, and they put something on the table, we'll make the determination on whether or not we'll move forward on either a short-term or long-term spending bill,” she said.
“When it comes to the border wall, today on television you mentioned that the president would be willing to accept $1.6 billion for the wall, the way that I understood it when you said it. And also, that plays into a broader $25 billion bill over 10 years. Is that what the White House's current offer is to Capitol Hill that it would accept?” a reporter asked.
“Again, we are continuing to have constant and regular conversations with the Hill. I'm not going to negotiate here. We've laid out clearly what our parameters are with members of Congress. We want to know what they can pass. We want to know what they think they can actually get done. We've laid out what we'd like to see,” Sanders said.
“In the meantime, we're looking at other areas where we can draw money from to make sure that the president can actually protect our border and protect American citizens,” she said.
“With the deficit ballooning to over a trillion dollars under this president, where are the additional monies for this wall going to come from? And why is he asking the American taxpayer for them, when he promised Mexico was going to pay?” a reporter asked.
“Look, we're not asking American taxpayers for that. We are looking at existing funding through other agencies right now that we can draw on to do that immediately. The president has been clear,” Sanders said.
When asked whether the president’s plan adds to the deficit, Sanders said, “The president has been clear that the USMCA deal would provide additional revenue through that deal that would show that Mexico was paying for the wall.”
“Not to the Treasury, though. The trade benefits, if there are any, don’t go to the Treasury,” the reporter said.
“He's saying that the revenue provided and the money that would be saved through the USMCA deal, we could pay for the wall four times over, and by doing that new trade deal, we have the opportunity to pay for the wall,” Sanders said.
“But trade benefits go to private citizens. They don't go the United States Treasury,” the reporter said.
“But he's talking about the general revenue that comes from that,” Sanders said. She said they’re “not taxing.”
“We're talking about additional revenue that wouldn't have existed without the president getting a new deal,” Sanders added. “There have been a number of things that we've looked at in which we know will have additional revenue that comes in through the USMCA.”
“Twenty-five billion from the USMCA into the Treasury?” the reporter asked.
“We think there will be more than that that comes in,” Sanders said.