Mexico isn’t paying for President Donald Trump’s border wall, but Republican Rep. Steve King has a plan: use federal money typically earmarked for Planned Parenthood and food stamps to help finance it.
On Tuesday, a spending bill hit the House floor that would appropriate $1.6 billion toward building the border wall between the U.S. and Mexico. The funding is part of a $13.8 billion allocation to Customs and Border Patrol — but King said that isn’t enough.
He wants to “throw another $5 billion on the pile,” he said on CNN’s “New Day” on Wednesday, telling co-host Alisyn Camerota he would be “comfortable” holding up funding for the federal government if it didn’t include money for the wall.
The U.S.—Mexico border stretches 1,954 miles. Experts have estimated the cost of building the wall as $20 billion to $70 billion.
“I would find half of a billion dollars of that right out of Planned Parenthood’s budget,” the Iowa representative said. “And the rest of it could come out of food stamps and the entitlements that are being spread out for people that haven’t worked in three generations.”
“We’ve got to put America back to work, this administration will do it,” he said.
Almost incredulously, Camerota asked King if he meant he wanted to take food from people who are on the “lowest rung of the nation’s safety net” to give $1.6 billion to build about 62 miles of the wall.
King said the border wall would create 10 million more jobs in the country “just by enforcing immigration law.”
A spokeswoman for Planned Parenthood, Erica Sackin, told The Hill that King’s comments make no sense. She noted that the medical services provider “receives federal funding the same way as every other hospital or community health care provider: through Medicaid reimbursements.”
“For Rep. Steve King to propose using Medicaid reimbursements to pay for a border wall is nonsensical and cruel. Blocking individuals on Medicaid from going to Planned Parenthood for preventive care will result in people losing access to care,” said Sackin.