Congressional Republicans are declining to support funding for President Trump’s central campaign promise of building a wall along the southern border, with a significant majority declining to say whether they will back the project.
USA Today asked Republicans in Congress if they would support the president’s $1.6 billion budget request so that construction of the wall can take place, the outlet said only 69 of 292 Republicans said they would. While only three said they oppose giving the money, others evaded an answer while still more declined to reply.
That $1.6 billion was however, voted through the House in July as part of a national security spending package and got through with mainly Republican support, but the Senate has yet to take up the bill.
Concerns about the wall are rampant among Trump’s base after Democratic leaders Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said they have struck a deal with Trump to enshrine DACA into law, but without finding the wall. Trump has since promised that the wall will be built, but has not been clear about what that means, or when.
The three Republicans who opposed the wall funding outright were Sen Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Rep. Steve Pearce (R-NM) and Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX).
“I voted against including border wall funding into the recent appropriations package because I favor a border security solution based on improved technology and manpower,” Hurd told USA Today. “I’ve made it clear time and time again that building a physical wall from sea to shining sea is the most expensive and least effective way to secure the border.
Flake meanwhile said he would support a “border wall” as long as it didn’t mean an actual border wall, and was instead a metaphor for drones.
“”If ‘border walls’ are a metaphor for securing the border, which will include fencing in some areas, surveillance in others, drones, camera towers, then I think we all agree,” Flake said. “But not if it’s just going to be a border wall.”
The outlet noted that despite multiple rounds of questions sent to Republican offices, most declined to participate while others gave “general positions” about the importance of border security.
Sen. Pat Toomey, (R-PA) trotted out the talking point that the U.S. immigration system is “fundamentally broken.”
“Our borders are not secure, and our immigration laws are being broken by employers trying to skirt the rules and those who seek to come here illegally,” he said.
USA Today found that while 220 Republicans refused to answer, Democrats were much more talkative, with 133 of 240 Democrats responding, almost all answering “no.”
Adam Shaw is a Breitbart News politics reporter based in New York. Follow Adam on Twitter: @AdamShawNY