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house Bill H.R. 7207

Should the Treasury Accept Private Donations to Build the Border Wall?

Argument in favor

With Democrats set to take control of the House next year, it’s unlikely that federal funding for the border wall will materialize. Private donations to this key Trump administration priority will allow the wall’s construction without taxpayer dollars, saving the government money and securing the border.

12/23/2018
The most important job of the federal government is the safety and security of the American people and if citizens in our country wish to contribute to this effort they absolutely should be given the opportunity.
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NoHedges's Opinion
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12/23/2018
Well, they accept donations/grants for everything else, so I don’t see why not. But, the money should be used for its intended purpose and only used for wall building in designated areas. No wall building on private property without the express permission of the property owner. 🎯PS for those that say crowdfunding government projects is wrong, we having been using crowdfunding to support education for 3 generations, we often call this sort of funding “grants.” ⚠️Michael, you do realize that taking donations intended for a specific purpose and then using them for another purpose would be unethical, correct? This is sometimes referred to as a bait and switch con; it generally frowned upon and does NOT promote mutual cooperation or trust. How would you feel if your charitable donation to veterans got hijacked and used to, let’s say, build a wall? Or, even, to support an elephant orphanage?
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JTJ's Opinion
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12/23/2018
Look at all the intolerant democrats on countable, telling people how they can and can’t spend their money. Their tyranny is showing.
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Argument opposed

The border wall is opposed by many Americans and negatively impacts the environment and endangered species along the U.S.-Mexico border. Crowdfunding for federal priorities is a bad idea because it opens the government to private influence and lets Congress accomplish goals outside the appropriations process.

Michael's Opinion
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12/23/2018
How about taking those donations and using them for something that will actually benefit people? Flint’s water system perhaps...Puerto Rico’s infrastructure...help the homeless veterans?? This wall will do nothing to stop the flow of immigrants into this country.
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Christopher's Opinion
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12/23/2018
Public Officials are not allowed to solicit or accept bribes. When the US Government starts to accept direct donations for preferred programs we going down that slippery slope of corruption and patronage that has already impacted our politics through campaign financing.
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BlueSphere's Opinion
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12/23/2018
“Crowdfunding for federal priorities is a bad idea because it opens the government to private influence and lets Congress accomplish goals outside the appropriations process.”
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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
    IntroducedNovember 30th, 2018

What is House Bill H.R. 7207?

This bill — the Buy a Brick, Build the Wall Act — would allow the Secretary of the Treasury to accept public donations to fund the construction of a barrier on the border between the U.S. and Mexico.

Impact

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

Cost of House Bill H.R. 7207

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-DepthRep. Warren Davidson (R-OH) introduced this bill to create an account at the U.S. Treasury dedicated to holding public donations for the completion of a wall along the U.S. southern border:

"Open border radicals make our country less safe for families everywhere. Last year, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) seized 2,379 pounds of fentanyl and 6,967 pounds of heroin - drugs that would otherwise have made their way to Ohio streets for sale. This bill creates a way for our citizens to pitch in and help efforts to secure the border, support President Trump's commitment to build the wall, and keep future generations safe.”

Democrats have been largely unified in their opposition to Trump’s border wall, which they view as xenophobic and a waste of taxpayer money. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), in a letter to her colleagues in early 2018, called the border wall an issue on which her caucus “must all speak out.” However, in December 2018, a group of border-state House Democrats accused Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) of betraying them on the border wall issue due to comments Sen. Schumer made about backing more funding for the border.

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?”

GovTrack Insider notes that, in addition to resistance to the border wall itself, there are also some concerns about the politics of crowdfunding:

“Some worry that the ability to donate privately to such a federal project would primarily serve as a way for individuals or corporations to buy political influence, especially in this case with the White House or Republican members of Congress. Federal government projects are nearly always funded entirely publicly, for the reason that contributions from the public en masse not only provide more of an 'all in' approach, but also help prevent nepotism or favoritism in the process.”


This bill has the support of two cosponsors, both of whom are Republicans.


Rep. Diane Black (R-TN) introduced a nearly identical bill, the Border Wall Trust Fund Act, allowing individual donors to donate the border wall construction on May 18, 2018. That bill, has 11 cosponsors, all of whom are Republicans.


Of NotePrivate donations have funded other public works projects, including the Washington Monument, Thomas Jefferson Memorial, Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Korean War Veterans Memorial, FDR Memorial, World War II Memorial, George Mason Memorial, and Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial.

In early December, President Trump threatened a government shutdown if Congress doesn’t approve his requested $5 billion for wall construction as part of the federal spending package due by December 7. Senate Democrats have only agreed to fund $1.6 billion, less than a third of what Trump is asking for.

Earlier in 2018, Democrats offered to fully fund the wall in exchange for granting citizenship to 1.8 million DREAMers, or children of undocumented immigrants. President Trump and Republicans rejected the offer. With Democrats about to take over the House, the odds of publicly funding the wall fully or even partially just plummeted.

A June 2018 Gallup poll found that the majority (57%) of respondents opposed a border wall, and a large majority (83%) favor giving immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children a path to citizenship. Only 41% of respondents were in favor of building a border wall.


Media:

Summary by Lorelei Yang

(Photo Credit: iStock / Sherry Smith)

AKA

Buy a Brick, Build the Wall Act

Official Title

To allow the Secretary of the Treasury to accept public donations to fund the construction of a barrier on the border between the United States and Mexico and for other purposes.

    The most important job of the federal government is the safety and security of the American people and if citizens in our country wish to contribute to this effort they absolutely should be given the opportunity.
    Like (66)
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    How about taking those donations and using them for something that will actually benefit people? Flint’s water system perhaps...Puerto Rico’s infrastructure...help the homeless veterans?? This wall will do nothing to stop the flow of immigrants into this country.
    Like (380)
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    Public Officials are not allowed to solicit or accept bribes. When the US Government starts to accept direct donations for preferred programs we going down that slippery slope of corruption and patronage that has already impacted our politics through campaign financing.
    Like (224)
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    “Crowdfunding for federal priorities is a bad idea because it opens the government to private influence and lets Congress accomplish goals outside the appropriations process.”
    Like (194)
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    Definitely not. Private funding cannot build trump's border wall. trump's desired border wall isn't trump's personal playground to do with what his deranged mind feels like doing.
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    Non profit organizations receive private donations. Depending on the size of your donation, you may have your name on a plague, brick, bench, etc. Will those who privately donate money have an advertisement on a section? Or will their be an LED bill board that will rotate ads? Just like those who ‘donated’ to #45’s now defunct foundation, the money will not be used as a donor may believe. As a businessman, #45 filed bankruptcy (5) times. Each time, he didn’t lose a dime. It was those who were contracted who went out of business. This scenario smells of the same used car salesman tactic that the part-time resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is known for!
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    Can the US accept private donations for medical insurance?
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    Accepting donations for the construction is only one part of the equation. Who pays for the PRIVATE land that will need to be acquired to build this monument to Trump (which is all this is)? Who pays for the inspections, maintenance and upkeep? Eventually, the taxpayers will be forced to pay in U.S. dollars, NOT Mexican pesos as promised by the chief temper tantrum thrower! WE DON'T NEED A FREAKIN' WALL. WE NEED COMMON SENSE IMMIGRATION POLICY - impossible with an administration sorely lacking in Common Sense.
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    Well, they accept donations/grants for everything else, so I don’t see why not. But, the money should be used for its intended purpose and only used for wall building in designated areas. No wall building on private property without the express permission of the property owner. 🎯PS for those that say crowdfunding government projects is wrong, we having been using crowdfunding to support education for 3 generations, we often call this sort of funding “grants.” ⚠️Michael, you do realize that taking donations intended for a specific purpose and then using them for another purpose would be unethical, correct? This is sometimes referred to as a bait and switch con; it generally frowned upon and does NOT promote mutual cooperation or trust. How would you feel if your charitable donation to veterans got hijacked and used to, let’s say, build a wall? Or, even, to support an elephant orphanage?
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    Wasting any source of money on a dumb idea is still a waste and still a dumb idea. Channel the energy and resources toward things that will actually help such as a more effective and efficient immigration process, housing and food for those seeking asylum in the US, support for the organizations attempting to mitigate the effects of decades of US self-interestl policies in Mexico and South America.
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    NO BORDER WALL EVER!!!! I agree that donations should go to AIDING AMERICANS, like RESTORING ELECTRICITY, CLEAN WATER, and HOUSING in PUERTO RICO, or RELEASING and REUNITING ILLEGAL DETAINED/ KIDNAPPED Children and their Parents at the BORDERS of THE HOME of the BRAVE and the LAND of the FREE!!!!
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    The federal government should not be allowed to accept private donations for any project. That simple idea keeps the government safe from the corruption that plagues so many nations. If someone wants do donate money to building a wall (per there right) they can donate to their candidate’s campaign or perhaps to a charity that helps keep immigrants in their home countries.
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    Take any money raised and use it to pay wages and benefits lost by the Trump Tantrum Shutdown. Take the money raised and use it to care for the asylum seekers and to help re-unite the families torn apart by 45. Take the money raised and use it to feed and housed the hungry and the homeless. Besides, 45 promised that Mexico would pay for his wall. 45 didn’t lie, did he?
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    Look at all the intolerant democrats on countable, telling people how they can and can’t spend their money. Their tyranny is showing.
    Like (22)
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    “Crowdfunding for federal priorities is a bad idea because it opens the government to private influence and lets Congress accomplish goals outside the appropriations process.” This is the best way to summarize my feelings. Just because a group of people raised some money to do something, doesn't mena that act is just or meaningful to anyone else. The wall that trump want's to build will help no one but his own ego and his campaign promises. It's a barbaric way to try to fix a modern day problem.
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    No because it continues to be a moronic idea.
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    For those of you opposed to the wall, be consistent - never lock your house or car doors again.
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    No wall! Period! What is this country coming to?
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    Bad precedent- opens funding for politically and ethically questionable activities to anyone with a big enough checkbook. Not a good idea!
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    Whether a person supports the wall or not, the government accepting such funds is a slippery slope... What's then to say that a single billionaire couldn't be the deciding vote of a government policy if they could pay for it? The people should always have a say and a vote, but not in such a manner.
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