The Border Wall Trust Fund Act, introduced Friday by Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.), would “allow the secretary of the Treasury to accept public donations to fund the construction of a barrier on the border between the United States and Mexico, and for other purposes.”
Under the bill, the treasury secretary would establish an account for the donations and “create a publicly accessible website to receive such gifts.”
The bill also calls for money to be used to construct a mile-long “commemorative display” to honor donors — unless the “secretary determines that length to be impracticable.”
When Black appeared on Fox News Monday to discuss the bill, host Harris Faulkner shot back: “What happened to Mexico paying for it?”— which Trump repeatedly vowed would happen, despite Mexico’s clear objections.
Black, who’s running for governor of Tennessee, said that while she would like to see Mexico pay for the structure, she was uncertain “what kind of pressure” the Trump administration was putting on Mexico for the funds.
Black said she has received a positive response to the bill. She said people can send money to the federal government for the wall now, but there’s no current guarantee the funds would be spent that way. Black explained that her bill would “dedicate a fund” for the wall.
The congresswoman said that she and her husband would be the first to write a check if the bill becomes law, but didn’t say how much they would donate.
In March, $1.6 billion in U.S. taxpayer money was earmarked for ongoing or planned border projects, but that didn’t include money for constructing Trump’s wall. Early this month, the president threatened to shut down the federal government if he didn’t get wall funding.
The Department of Homeland Security has estimated that the proposed border wall would cost at least $21.6 billion to build, though another estimate goes up to $70 billion.
USA Today created an interactive map of existing barriers along the U.S.-Mexico border.