White House Floats, Immediately Backs Off Of 20 Percent Import Tax

Press secretary Sean Spicer seemed to suggest a 20 percent border tax could help raise funds for President Trump's border wall project.
White House Floats, Immediately Backs Off Of 20 Percent Import Tax

On Thursday, White House press secretary Sean Spicer abruptly floated — and then just as suddenly walked back — one plan to pay for President Trump's wall project on the U.S.-Mexico border. 

Spicer told the press, "If you tax that $50 billion at 20 percent of imports. ... If you think about what a border tax on imports from countries like Mexico that we have a huge trade deficit does, that's really going to provide the funding."

Trump's current plan is to fund the border wall construction with U.S. tax dollars, then somehow force Mexico to reimburse the country.

But a 20 percent tax on Mexican imports isn't a great way to raise those funds. The increased cost could fall on consumers, and Mexico might impose its own tariffs in retaliation.

It's possible Spicer was alluding to House Speaker Paul Ryan's plans to impose a border-adjusted tax. But it's hard to see Ryan's plans raising enough money for Trump's projects.

The White House later said Spicer's comments were just one of many possible plans under consideration.

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