Ted Cruz Proposes Using Assets Seized From El Chapo to Fund Border Wall

WASHINGTON -- As President Donald Trump struggles to convince Congress to pay for his oft-promised border wall and Mexico continues to insist that it will not spend a dime on the project, Sen. Ted Cruz has another idea.The Texas Republican introduced a bill Tuesday that would use assets seized from El Chapo and other drug lords to pay for the wall and bolster border security.The proposal, first reported by Axios, would repurpose the $14 billion in assets that the government is seeking from Mexican kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman to complete the wall.The formal name for the measure is the “Ensuring Lawful Collection of Hidden Assets to Provide Order Act” -- an acronym for EL CHAPO."Fourteen billion dollars will go a long way toward building a wall that will keep Americans safe and hinder the illegal flow of drugs, weapons, and individuals across our southern border,” Cruz said in a statement announcing the proposal.Cruz’s suggestion may offer an innovative way for Trump to work around his difficulties getting Congress or Mexico to fund his longtime campaign promise. Mexico’s chief diplomat has long said the country would play no part in helping to build the wall, calling it an “hostile” act. While Congress has balked at Trump’s efforts to include funding in a government spending bill this week.Cost estimates for the wall have ranged dramatically, with some experts predicting it could cost up to $25 billion and Democrats putting the price-tag at a whopping $66.9 billion. But Trump has insisted he could build it for $10 billion or less.Some analysts have also raised doubts about whether El Chapo’s assets actually reach as high as $14 billion, though most still predict his fortune is in the billions.Even beyond the funding issues, most Texas Republicans in Congress have expressed opposition to the idea of building a wall along the state’s southern border at all, urging the president to use a more “holistic approach” to border security.But Cruz has generally supported the idea. While competing against Trump in the GOP primary, Cruz also suggested building a wall, prompting Trump to accuse the Texan of stealing his idea. Now that the two are working together more closely, the senator could help to secure the promise that became a central feature of Trump’s campaign rallies.“Ensuring the safety and security of Texans is one of my top priorities,” Cruz said. “We must also be mindful of the impact on the federal budget. By leveraging any criminally forfeited assets of El Chapo and his ilk, we can offset the wall’s cost and make meaningful progress toward achieving President Trump’s stated border security objectives.”  Continue reading...

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