SALT LAKE CITY — Two Utah congressmen say there's no way Congress would let President Donald Trump use military dollars to build a wall between the United States and Mexico.
"It will never happen, and I can tell you Congress will never allow that to happen," said Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah.
"I think this is the musings of a president who does an awful lot of musings and too often those kind of throwing ideas against the wall get reported and given more credibility than they deserve," he said.
Several news outlets have reported that Trump privately proposed military funding for his border wall. He insisted during his presidential campaign that he would get Mexico to pay for the wall.
Trump signed a $1.3 trillion spending bill last week that included a massive military funding increase, as well as $1.6 billion for border fencing, surveillance technology and other measures, though nowhere near the $25 billion he sought for his wall project.
"Because of the $700 & $716 Billion Dollars gotten to rebuild our Military, many jobs are created and our Military is again rich. Building a great Border Wall, with drugs (poison) and enemy combatants pouring into our Country, is all about National Defense. Build WALL through M!" Trump tweeted earlier this week.
Rep. Rob Bishop, R-Utah, said he wouldn't expect Congress to go along with such a proposal.
"It would seem this is basically floating a trial a balloon, and it would be very hard to accomplish that," he said.
Bishop and Stewart made the comments Wednesday on KSL Newsradio's "The Doug Wright Show."
A wall is not a panacea for border security, Bishop said. But combining it with more flexibility for the Border Patrol to go into areas where it is now restricted, "then you might have something that interests me."31 comments on this story
If there were some attempt to raid defense funding, "I can guarantee it would not come from military construction at Hill Air Force Base," Bishop said.
Stewart said he believes Trump threw out the idea in a "15-second conversation" and didn't give it any more thought than that. But if he were serious, Congress wouldn't let it happen.
"This president doesn’t have the authority to take military spending and to move it to any project," he said. "We would oppose him."