Mississippi congressman proposes crowdfunding border wall through ‘border bonds’

  • Mississippi Rep. Steven Palazzo proposed a new way to fund Trump’s border wall: Selling “border bonds.”
  • The “border bonds” would allow the US government to crowdfund the wall.
  • Palazzo said his proposed plan, the “Border Bonds for America Act,” allows Americans to “safely invest in border security.”

It has been made pretty clear by now that Mexico is not planning on paying for a border wall.

As President Trump scrambles to convince Democrats to hand him the estimated $US5 billion in funding necessary to fulfil his campaign promise, others in Washington are coming up with different ways to pay for the wall.

One such thinker is Steven Palazzo, a representative from Mississippi who on Monday introduced the “Border Bonds for America Act” that would allow Americans to buy savings bonds in order to fund the expansion of the wall. Under Palazzo’s plan, the US Treasury would sell “border bonds,” which he described on Twitter as a “safe investment into the infrastructure ans [sic] security of our country.”

Palazzo’s plan has been submitted to the House’s Committee on Ways and Means as well as to the Committee on Homeland Security for review. Palazzo currently serves as the vice-chairman of the Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee.

In a press release, the congressman said the American people are “fed up with the political games fuelled by the Democrats’ inaction to secure our borders and protect our citizens.” He compared his plan to the bonds sold in the country to support military efforts during World War II, which is the last time the US sold bonds. Back then, more than 85 million Americans bought bonds. By the end of the war, Americans had purchased $US185.7 billion in bonds.

“This legislation would allow for the patriots of today’s era to help support American security in the same way as previous generations,” Palazzo wrote in a release. “I believe this legislation allows new alternatives for our citizens to support their values and defend our homeland.”

Palazzo’s plan to, in essence, crowdfund the border wall isn’t unique. In an NPR interview, Ohio Representative Warren Davidson spoke about his proposal to set up a public fund of sorts to raise the necessary money for a wall.

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“I’ve offered a modest compromise called Buy a Brick, Build a Wall that we introduced, which lets the American people, or whomever should choose to donate – Mexicans or otherwise – to donate to the program,” Davidson told NPR host Steve Inskeep. “You could do with this sort of, like, crowdfunding site. Or you could even do blockchain, and you could have wall coins. But you could raise the money. And frankly, if we get it right at the Treasury, you could even accept Mexican pesos.”

Davidson’s plan would, in a way, allow some Mexicans to pay for the wall.

But, even with an active GoFundMe page for the wall, the president’s $US5 billion budget might be a tall order. Few American fundraisers have passed the billion-dollar mark. According to philanthropy.com, only six charities managed to fundraise more than $US1 billion in 2016 and only one of them – United Way Worldwide – got anywhere close to $US5 billion, raising $US3.2 billion.