Steve King says Donald Trump's border wall could be funded if we cut food stamps to pay for it

Steve King wants to take money from feeding poor people, and use it instead to pay for Trump's wall

Published July 12, 2017 12:56PM (EDT)

Steve King (AP/Charlie Neibergall)
Steve King (AP/Charlie Neibergall)

Some House Republicans are threatening a government shutdown if funding for a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border isn't part of next year's budget. But what if Mexico doesn't pay for the wall like President Trump insists? One GOP member says that it's okay, because it can come out of the pockets of poor people.

Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, told "CNN New Day" host Alisyn Camerota that America could pay for the wall by slashing the social safety net.

"I would find half of a billion of dollars of that right out of Planned Parenthood’s budget," King said. "And the rest of it could come out of food stamps and the entitlements that are being spread out for people who have not worked in three generations.”

Camerota pressed King on the matter of letting Americans go hungry, “You want to take food from people who are on the lowest rung in terms of the nation’s safety net and their children, in terms of foot stamps — you’re happy to take money from them in order to give the $1.6 billion for the border wall?” she asked.

"And I’d throw another $5 billion on the pile," King replied.


Quick math shows more than $6 billion more is needed to build the wall that King so desperately wants.

King said he would like the number of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients — which feeds about 45 million people and had an annual budget of $71 billion — to be scaled back significantly to "19 million."

"You don’t think all of them need it?” Camerota asked.

“Oh, I’m sure that all of them (SNAP recipients) didn’t need it and we need to set this down and ratchet it back down again." King added that SNAP has worked too well because too many Americans overweight. "We built the programs because [politicians wanted] to solve the problems of malnutrition in America. And now we have obesity."

Quick note to King: If you throw some ropes on the border wall and market it as a Crossfit, you could possibly kill two birds with one stone.

By Michael Glassman

Michael Glassman is on Salon’s Breaking News team. You can find him on Twitter at @warnkemg

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Alisyn Camerota Border Wall Cnn Michelle Obama Obesity Snap Steve King