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Paul Ryan suggests supplemental bill to pay for border wall

By Andrew V. Pestano
Paul Ryan suggests supplemental bill to pay for border wall
U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R), seen here alongside Vice President Mike Pence, on Wednesday said the United States will fund President Donald Trump's border wall along the Mexican border prior to making Mexico "pay for it" -- a Trump campaign pledge. Photo by Mike Theiler/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 26 (UPI) -- House Speaker Paul Ryan said the United States will likely fund President Donald Trump's border wall with a supplemental bill prior to making Mexico "pay for it."

Members of Congress this week said that Ryan said Congress could initially foot the bill for the wall through a supplemental budget bill. On Wednesday during an interview with MSNBC's Greta Van Susteren, Ryan said the United States will pay for the wall at first before taking efforts to make Mexico "contribute."

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"Who's going to pay for it?" Van Susteren asked the Republican about a wall that could cost up to $14 billion.

"First off, we're going to pay for it and front the money up but I do think that there are various ways ... there are a lot of different ways of getting Mexico to contribute to doing this and there are different ways of defining how exactly they'd pay for it," Ryan replied. "Point is, he has a promise he made to the American people, which is to secure our border," Ryan added of Trump. "A wall is a big part of that. We agree with that goal and we will be working with him to finance construction of the physical barrier, including the wall, on the southern border."

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Earlier this week, Ryan told members of Congress that they could pay for the wall over the next two months through a supplemental appropriations bill dedicated just to the wall's construction

"[Ryan] talked about the supplemental budget coming this spring to push that along. The President said he's going to get reimbursed one way or the other and we accept that. Meanwhile, we do have to pay our bills," Rep. Chris Collins, R-N.Y., told CNN Wednesday.

AshLee Strong, a spokeswoman for Ryan, said lawmakers know Trump could request a special spending measure, but that the legislative branch would move forward with the appropriations measure.

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Trump on Wednesday signed an executive action directing federal agencies to prepare for construction of a "large physical barrier on the southern border."

In a statement, Ryan said he supported Trump's action for the sake of security.

"This is about keeping Americans safe," Ryan said. "We are committed to working with the administration to stop the influx of illegal immigration along the southern border, protect our homeland, and uphold the rule of law. I applaud President Trump for keeping his promise to make this a national priority."

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Following Trump's wall-related actions, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto said he "regrets and disapproves" of Trump's proposed wall, reiterating that Mexico will not pay for it.

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