- The Washington Times - Friday, December 7, 2018

President Trump seemed to undercut the price of his own border wall Friday, saying it could be built for as little as $15 billion — far less than the $25 billion figure his administration has submitted to Congress.

Mr. Trump also claimed the wall will save the country money by stopping the flow of heroin coming into the country over the southern border.

“We’re talking about a wall for $20 billion, $15 billion. I could even do it cheaper if I have to,” he said at a conference in Kansas City.

Just a day earlier, GOP senators introduced legislation they said would allocate $25 billion for the president’s wall request. They said they would find the money by increasing fines on illegal immigrants, and by cutting off some benefits illegal immigrant families are still able to claim.

Though the wall was a major part of the president’s 2016 campaign, he’s not been clear about exactly what he wants to see.

The length of the wall he envisions has varied, though it now appears to be about 700 miles of total construction, with some of that new barriers and other parts replacement of outdated fencing.

Earlier this year the government submitted to Congress a blueprint for where that fencing would go, but it has repeatedly declined to make that request public.

Homeland Security officials held a contest to erect prototypes for new wall designs, spending $20 million in taxpayers’ money. But officials said none of those are likely to be used, and instead the department will tweak the current fence designs.

Mr. Trump began the year asking for $1.6 billion in border wall funding in 2019, but has since upped that request to $5 billion. That demand has tied Congress in knots and the president has threatened to force the government into a partial shut down unless he gets his way.

• Stephen Dinan can be reached at sdinan@washingtontimes.com.

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