In a statement released on Monday, Representative Walter Jones (R-N.C.) says President Donald Trump should use his own money to pay for the proposed wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, citing concerns that building the structure would add to the federal debt.
“If Mexico isn’t going to be made to pay for a wall, that means funds must be found internally,” he said. “As a wealthy man, the president might consider pledging some of his own funds as well [to help build the wall]. Whatever it takes, just so long as we don’t add to the debt that is bankrupting our great country.”
Jones noted that the national debt “is nearly $22 trillion,” and that next year “the 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,” he said.
Jones, 75, has not cast a roll call vote since September 26 and has been forced to take a leave of absence for the remainder of the current congressional term because of an illness. His concerns about the federal deficit are not unfounded given research from entities both public and private which have concluded that the wall would be more of a money suck than a boon for national security. In 2017, explaining why he voted “no” on the GOP’s controversial tax bill, Jones said that “the biggest threat to our national security is America’s rising debt.”
The government has been partially shut down since President Trump opted not to sign a stopgap funding bill that would have averted a shutdown altogether. The president has been embroiled in a tug-of-war with Congress over funding for his proposed border wall, asking for $5 billion. Congress refused to allocate the funds. It is unlikely the shutdown will be resolved until Democrats are sworn in on January 3.