Republican Rep. Steve King wants to fund the border wall with food stamp budget

Republican Rep. Steve King wants to fund the border wall with food stamp budget
Rep. Steve King Charlie Neibergall/AP
Rep. Steve King Charlie Neibergall/AP

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) said he wants to use taxpayer money that goes toward food stamps and Planned Parenthood to pay for the U.S.-Mexico border wall that Trump promised would be funded by Mexico.

“Are you comfortable, Congressman, with providing $1.6 billion of taxpayer money not from Mexico to build that wall?” CNN’s Alisyn Camerota asked King during a televised interview on Wednesday.

“Absolutely yes and more,” King replied. “I’d throw another $5 billion on the pile and I would find a half of a billion dollars of that right out of Planned Parenthood’s budget and the rest of it can come out of food stamps and the entitlements that are coming out for people who haven’t worked in three generations.”

King’s claim that people who receive food stamps don’t work is a myth. According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 58% of food stamp recipients are employed while enrolled in the program.

“Among [Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program] households with at least one working-age, non-disabled adult, more than half work while receiving SNAP — and more than 80% work in the year prior to or the year after receiving SNAP,” the CBPP report said, referring to food stamps.

Trump promised that, through his negotiating skills, he’d get Mexico to pay for the border wall. But Mexico has said multiple times it has no intention to pay for the wall, and Congress has showed little appetite to appropriate funding for the project.

The Department of Homeland Security estimates that the physical border wall Trump proposed could cost up to $21.6 billion. Aside from the cost, the wall would also run into issues of topography and legal battles that would ensue thanks to eminent domain.

The Trump administration, however, has signaled that it wants to launch a fight over border wall funding as Congress gears up to pass funding bills for the next fiscal year. It’s a fight that could lead to a government shutdown, as Democrats wouldn’t vote for a bill that contained money for the wall.