Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D., Ill.) suggested Wednesday he was open to using money seized from convicted Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman to pay for the appropriations package recently agreed to by congressional negotiators.
CNN host Brianna Keilar asked the congressman about using the Guzman's lucre for the wall, an idea proposed in the Senate by Ted Cruz (R., Texas) in his Ensuring Lawful Collection of Hidden Assets to Provide Order (EL CHAPO) Act.
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"Senator Ted Cruz has said that convicted drug kingpin El Chapo should pay for the wall. This is what he tweeted. He said let's pass the EL CHAPO Act and make El Chapo pay to secure our border. It's getting a lot of attention, but do you think that that is any sort of serious proposition?" Keilar asked.
"Very interesting. I don't know how much El Chapo has, but if he wants to, if we can use his money instead of taxpayer money to fund this particular appropriations package, why not?" Krishnamoorthi responded.
On Tuesday, Cruz tweeted that "U.S. prosecutors are seeking $14 billion in drug profits & other assets from El Chapo which should go towards funding our wall to #SecureTheBorder."
"It's time to pass my EL CHAPO Act," Cruz continued.
— Senator Ted Cruz (@SenTedCruz) February 12, 2019
"Fourteen billion dollars will go a long way to secure our southern border, and hinder the illegal flow of drugs, weapons, and individuals. By leveraging any criminally forfeited assets of El Chapo and other murderous drug lords, we can offset the cost of securing our border and make meaningful progress toward delivering on the promises made to the American people," Cruz said last month.
Earlier this week, congressional negotiators agreed to provide $1.4 billion for border barriers, which includes 55 miles of new fencing along Texas's Rio Grande Valley. The compromise proposal is part of a broader appropriations agreement to avoid a government shutdown at the end of the week. President Donald Trump has promised to build a border wall and has battled with Democrats about providing it with more funding.