President Donald Trump on Thursday insisted money saved from the new NAFTA replacement trade deal will pay for his proposed U.S.-Mexico border wall, days after Democratic leaders rejected his demand for $5 billion to fund it.
The president again claimed without evidence that “Mexico is paying for the wall,” as he’s promised repeatedly since his days on the campaign trail, thanks to the trade deal he calls the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA.
“I often stated, ‘One way or other, Mexico is going to pay for the Wall.’ This has never changed,” Trump tweeted. “Our new deal with Mexico (and Canada), the USMCA, is so much better than the old, very costly & anti-USA NAFTA deal, that just by the money we save, MEXICO IS PAYING FOR THE WALL!”
Trump on Tuesday sparred with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) over funding for his promised wall during a tense meeting in the Oval Office.
Pelosi and Schumer want the president to accept a set of bipartisan proposals that would allocate about $1.3 billion toward border security measures, including fencing. But Trump has threatened to shut down parts of the government if his border wall funding demands aren’t met.
Democratic lawmakers have long pushed back on the president’s request to allocate billions of taxpayer dollars toward a border wall. Trump, though, has insisted Mexico would pay. Both Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrado and his predecessor, Enrique Pena Nieto, have vehemently refused to do so.
The USMCA still needs to be ratified by the U.S., Mexico and Canada. Congress won’t consider the deal until 2019, at which point Democrats will have gained control of the House.
Democrats have made it clear they don’t support the USCMA in its current form and have urged Trump to include more enforceable labor standards.
The trade deal, essentially a NAFTA 2.0, wouldn’t change very much in the way the U.S. conducts business with Mexico.
It’s unclear how its most significant changes, like better wages for auto workers in Mexico, will be enforced. And even if they are, these arrangements are not directly connected to the number of dollars in the U.S. Treasury.