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house Bill H.R. 3717

Should Taxpayers Be Able to Donate to the Border Wall’s Construction Instead of a Public Fund for Presidential Campaigns?

Argument in favor

Given Democrats’ staunch opposition to the wall, it’s unlikely that federal funding for the border wall will materialize. Allowing taxpayers to direct $3 or $6 of their tax money (depending on their filing status) to the wall will allow those who support it to help with the wall’s construction.

Libertarian's Opinion
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11/07/2019
It is up to the people. It is up to each individual. We are free people who can choose to do so or not.
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Just.Dave's Opinion
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11/07/2019
Let people donate what they want to whomever they want. If you earned your money, you should be able to spend it how you like. @RjGoodman: agreed, what do we need congress for?Why have a house of representatives that are career politicians, that come from politician families... How can they represent a people with whom they have nothing in common?
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Caleb 's Opinion
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11/07/2019
The people proved they are willing and wanting when the go fund me page came up during the shut down I believe it was. Plus, why is everyone arguing about the people that want the wall donating to it prevents a tax increase on the people that don’t want the wall. It's not a bad idea when people that want it put in their money willingly versus taking it through taxation forcefully.
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Argument opposed

The border wall is opposed by many Americans and advocacy organizations. It also negatively impacts the environment and endangered species along the U.S.-Mexico border. Given these concerns, funding for it shouldn’t be pushed through via this, or any other, legislation.

jimK's Opinion
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11/07/2019
Mark Green, what a ball-less and totally asinine proposal. Do not start using our tax forms as a platform for endorsing yours nor any other political positions. Using these forms to promote any political position should be illegal if it is not actually illegal already. ... ... Otherwise, I propose adding a third button allowing us to voluntarily contribute to a “Remove Corrupt Republicans Fund”. I would definitely contribute to that! ... ... Republicans never supported funding for the wall, ever. The fully Republican Congress and the Republican Senate when Republicans lost the House flat out refused to fund trump’s vanity wall. So you want to screw with tax forms to divert tax dollars from funding elections to fund something that your Congress flat out refused to support? Nonsense. Don’t take money from the deluded to support a trump manufactured crisis for a wall that is easily and demonstrably climbed over, under and through. If there were ever any documented capture of the ‘hoards’ of drug lords, cartel enforcers, crazed gang members or human traffickers that was the basis for building the wall, you might have a case. There were none reported and if there were any captures they certainly never reached the ‘marauding hoard’ levels that were supposed to be streaming trough our un-walled border. Stop trying to continue stirring up interest in this blatant, deluded fantasy- particularly by defacing our tax forms. I expect much more responsible behavior from an elected legislator. You make Republicans look like conspiring nimrods and frankly, as embarrassments for our country.
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RjGoodman's Opinion
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11/07/2019
C’mon, if we pay for all of our government projects via donations, what the hell do we need Congress for? More congressional bullshit.
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Ayush's Opinion
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11/07/2019
The Wall was a ridiculous idea from the start. How do the President and his GOP cronies still stand by this BS?
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Committee on Ways and Means
    IntroducedJuly 11th, 2019

What is House Bill H.R. 3717?

This bill — the Dollars for the Wall Act — would eliminate the Presidential Election Campaign Fund checkbox on the IRS 1040 form and replace it with a Border Wall Trust Fund checkbox. This would allow taxpayers to designate their tax money toward building a southern border wall rather than toward the Presidential Election Campaign Fund.

The current IRS 1040 form allows taxpayers to check a box to direct $3 (or $6 for those married filing jointly) of their taxes to the Presidential Election Campaign fund. Under this bill, that checkbox would be replaced with a taxpayer checkoff for payments to the Border Wall Trust Fund, directing $3 (or $6 for those married filing jointly) to the Border Wall Trust Fund.

Impact

Taxpayers; Trump supporters; U.S.-Mexico border; Mexico; and the Treasury Secretary.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 3717

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-DepthSponsoring Rep. Mark Green (R-TN) introduced this bill to replace the Presidential Election Campaign Fund checkbox on the IRS 1040 with a Border Wall Trust Fund checkbox to allow taxpayers to designate their tax money toward building a southern border wall: 

“Taxpayer dollars should never be used to advance political campaigns. But, keeping Americans safe must be our #1 priority. Americans spoke loud and clear in the 2016 election that we want a wall to secure our southern border. Congress has clearly been unable to get the job done. My bill will give every American the opportunity to directly help President Trump build the wall."

Brandon Judd, president of the National Border Patrol Council, the labor union for Border Patrol agents, sees the wall as a sensible solution to border security

“Whether we call it a fence or call it a wall, it acts as the exact same thing — a physical barrier that makes it more difficult to enter the United States illegally. I don't understand the whole fight over this.”

In June 2019, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) accused House Democrats of playing politics with border funding. He accused Democrats of opposing funding for the border wall and other security solely because such requests came from the White House and Trump administration:

“The Democratic House of Representatives has been more interested in denying this White House whatever it asks for, however necessary. It might be simply because it was this White House that was asking for it.”

Opponents of this bill argue that taxpayer money shouldn’t be used to pay for the southern border wall. In a February 2019 press release, Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI) — sponsor of a bill, the No Taxpayer Money for the Wall Act (H.R.968), to prevent taxpayer money being used for the southern border wall — said: 

“My constituents don’t want a wasteful wall. They want effective border security, to feel safe in their homes, and to know their hard-earned tax dollars are used appropriately, especially during tight fiscal times. President Trump’s wall does nothing to further this mission, nor secure the border. Instead, it’s a monumental waste of money that would be better used to advance meaningful measures to feed, educate, and provide health care services to millions of Americans.”

Democrats have been largely unified in their opposition to Trump’s border wall, which they view as xenophobic and a waste of taxpayer money. Then-House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA called the border wall an issue on which her caucus “must all speak out” in a letter to her colleagues in early 2018. 

In December 2018, the ACLU, Amnesty International USA, Immigrant Legal Resource Center, Sierra Club, and a range of other advocacy organizations signed a letter urging lawmakers in both chambers to reject any new funding for the border wall and other Trump security priorities

Environmental scientists — a group that typically doesn’t make political statements — have spoken out against the border wall proposal over environmental concerns. Robert Peters, lead author of a paper in Bioscience documenting the ecological harms of fence and barrier construction along the U.S.-Mexico border and the further damage that’d be incurred by the Trump administration’s proposed continuous wall that’s co-signed by 2,700 scientists from 47 countries, notes in his paper that “[f]ences and walls erected along international boundaries in the name of national security have unintended but significant consequences for biodiversity.” 

According to Jenni Miller, senior scientist at Defenders of Wildlife, barriers along the U.S.-Mexico border threaten 1,500 species of plants and animals, including 62 endangered or vulnerable species. Miller questions the wisdom of trading the environment for national security

“Debates about the border wall typically focus on immigration, economics and national security, but the harm to Americans’ natural heritage is an outcome rarely discussed. Do we really want to trade our natural heritage for national security?”

This legislation has 37 Republican cosponsors. Passage is unlikely in the Democratic-controlled House.


Of NoteThe Presidential Election Campaign Fund, established after President Nixon’s Watergate scandal in the early 1970s, allows taxpayers to mark a special section of their 1040 forms to donate money to a publicly paid-for presidential campaign fund. If taxpayers check the applicable box, $3 from their tax filing is donated to the Presidential Election Campaign (for married taxpayers filing jointly, the amount is $6).

When the program began in 1976, 27.5% of taxpayers marked the box to donate to the Presidential Election Campaign Fund. Participation peaked in 1980, with 28.8% of taxpayers participating in the program. However, in 2013, only 6% of taxpayers participated in the program.

When Rep. Green introduced this bill in July 2019, he cited the challenges President Donald Trump was having in obtaining funds for his proposed southern border wall. Previous attempts to secure funding for the border wall include a failed executive order (January 2017); the longest government shutdown in U.S. history in December 2018-January 2019, precipitated by the failure of Congress to approve a budget that included $5.6 billion for the wall; the declaration of a national emergency in February 2019; and the diversion of funding for other military projects for the wall.

At present, the border wall is projected to cost $25 billion or more.


Media:

Summary by Lorelei Yang

(Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com / grandriver)

AKA

Dollars for the Wall Act

Official Title

To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to terminate the designation of income tax payments to the Presidential Election Campaign Fund and to provide for the designation of income tax payments to the Border Wall Trust Fund, and for other purposes.

    It is up to the people. It is up to each individual. We are free people who can choose to do so or not.
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    Mark Green, what a ball-less and totally asinine proposal. Do not start using our tax forms as a platform for endorsing yours nor any other political positions. Using these forms to promote any political position should be illegal if it is not actually illegal already. ... ... Otherwise, I propose adding a third button allowing us to voluntarily contribute to a “Remove Corrupt Republicans Fund”. I would definitely contribute to that! ... ... Republicans never supported funding for the wall, ever. The fully Republican Congress and the Republican Senate when Republicans lost the House flat out refused to fund trump’s vanity wall. So you want to screw with tax forms to divert tax dollars from funding elections to fund something that your Congress flat out refused to support? Nonsense. Don’t take money from the deluded to support a trump manufactured crisis for a wall that is easily and demonstrably climbed over, under and through. If there were ever any documented capture of the ‘hoards’ of drug lords, cartel enforcers, crazed gang members or human traffickers that was the basis for building the wall, you might have a case. There were none reported and if there were any captures they certainly never reached the ‘marauding hoard’ levels that were supposed to be streaming trough our un-walled border. Stop trying to continue stirring up interest in this blatant, deluded fantasy- particularly by defacing our tax forms. I expect much more responsible behavior from an elected legislator. You make Republicans look like conspiring nimrods and frankly, as embarrassments for our country.
    Like (130)
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    C’mon, if we pay for all of our government projects via donations, what the hell do we need Congress for? More congressional bullshit.
    Like (54)
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    The Wall was a ridiculous idea from the start. How do the President and his GOP cronies still stand by this BS?
    Like (48)
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    I don’t wanna pay for the bloated military or the corporate welfare or the tax breaks for the wealthy. Put my tax money in protecting the environment, education, and healthcare. What do you mean TAXES DON’T WORK THAT WAY?
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    Why? As of today there are less than 250 working days left before Trump and the rest of his GOP supporters receive their official pink slip. And yes, I really am checking off the days until we can vote Trump and his cronies out. There are 363 calendar days and 249 working days. Update: For those of you who are also counting down the days here’s the link: https://countingdownto.com/?c=2722441
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    How much of a rip off can you Republicans come up with.
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    NO WALL.
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    Cndrla, my sentiments exactly. I’ve always felt things would be a lot different if WE WERE PERMITTED TO ALLOCATE OUR TAX PAYMENTS AS WE SEE FIT. A LOT LESS WASTED MONEY, I BET. Back to the question... Hell, NO! WHEN WILL YOU PEOPLE UNDERSTAND THAT A WALL IS NOT THE ANSWER? Also, this is a matter that needs to be APPROVED and FUNDED by CONGRESS. This is NOT for individuals to fund. There are many legal issues to contend with, especially as you move across States. I say NO to this idea. NEVER! EVER! AND THERE SHOULD NEVER BE A TAX DEDUCTION FOR THOSE WHO, STUPIDLY, MIGHT DO SO. ANOTHER REPUBLICAN PIECE OF BULL TO SUCK UP TO THE ORANGE DIMWIT! WE NEED A WORKING IMMIGRATION POLICY. NOT A F#&KING WALL THAT SOMEONE WILL ALWAYS BE ABLE TO BREACH. QUIT WASTING YOUR/OUR MONEY. THIS ISSUE IS DONE AND OVER. GET A LIFE!
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    No frigging wall. I don't care where the money comes from, no wall.
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    Absolutely not! This is the crazy nightmare child of the GOP. It’s your baby. You rock it. Besides, didn’t dumpy say Mexico was paying for the wall? Yes he did. Another lie.
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    The wall is a waste of taxpayer dollars regardless of how those dollars are collected. Just say “NO” to the wall.
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    By again attempting this tactic Republicans just reinforce the proof of their inability to listen to the public, be thoughtful, be ecologically and environmentally aware, and experience normal human emotions of caring and compassion and consideration. A computer would be more human.
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    How about this instead? How about no border wall? How about concentrating on a true emergency, like climate change?
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    We don’t need a border wall going through wilderness areas, dividing farmlands, and cutting into wildlife habitats. If it stopped access, it might be different. These fences don’t stop people.
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    Let people donate what they want to whomever they want. If you earned your money, you should be able to spend it how you like. @RjGoodman: agreed, what do we need congress for?Why have a house of representatives that are career politicians, that come from politician families... How can they represent a people with whom they have nothing in common?
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    This is ridiculous. Why even have a government then? No private funds for illegal racist walls!
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    Cndrla, my sentiments exactly. I’ve always felt things would be a lot different if WE WERE PERMITTED TO ALLOCATE OUR TAX PAYMENTS AS WE SEE FIT. A LOT LESS WASTED MONEY, I BET. Back to the question... Hell, NO! WHEN WILL YOU PEOPLE UNDERSTAND THAT A WALL IS NOT THE ANSWER? Also, this is a matter that needs to be APPROVED and FUNDED by CONGRESS. This is NOT for individuals to fund. There are many legal issues to contend with, especially as you move across States. I say NO to this idea. NEVER! EVER! AND THERE SHOULD NEVER BE A TAX DEDUCTION FOR THOSE WHO, STUPIDLY, MIGHT DO SO. ANOTHER REPUBLICAN PIECE OF BULL TO SUCK UP TO THE ORANGE DIMWIT! WE NEED A WORKING IMMIGRATION POLICY. NOT A WORTHLESS WALL THAT SOMEONE WILL ALWAYS BE ABLE TO BREACH. QUIT WASTING OUR MONEY. THIS ISSUE IS DONE AND OVER.
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    We as a nation cannot trust the government with the tax payer funds now collected to be used in a responsible, lawful, ethical, moral & accountable manner. And we absolutely do not need more avenues for donations to be directed that is controlled by the government. And lastly, there is no guarantee that a border wall will be necessary or legally required. Certainly not in the manner the current southern border wall is being prioritized & constructed. If anyone wishes to donate, pick a true charity or nonprofit that is near & dear to your heart. The US government doesn’t need donations. It needs leaders that are honest caring altruistic & forward thinking.
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    Wow what the fuck IS this? Insufficient moneys that are earmarked to ensure a public and free presidential election, and trump wants to steal that money and turn it into a WALL FUND?! What moronic fucking horseshit!!!! Impeach Trump now! Vote Mitch the Bitch OUT! Impeach Pence and Barr!
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