The House Speaker, Republican Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, has publicly thrown his support behind President Donald Trump's proposed wall along the U.S.-Mexico border (video below).
The Trump administration has been taking steps toward initiating the costly project, while several lawmakers and the majority of Americans have been skeptical that a wall would be a worthy investment.
On Aug. 1, Ryan took to social media to share a video touting his support from Trump's wall.
"It is time for The Wall," Ryan tweeted out.
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The video depicted Ryan surveying the U.S.-Mexico border and interacting with U.S. border patrol.
"They clearly need more tools and more support to do their jobs effectively," Ryan said. "That's why we're going to get this done this week."
On July 27, the House passed a defense spending package that included a $1.57 down payment for Trump's wall. Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas had argued on the House floor that constructing the wall would actually be a benefit for Mexico.
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"The best thing we could do as a good neighbor to Mexico is to build a wall where it’s needed, just like President Trump's talked about, stop that flow of tens of billions of dollars to Mexico used for corruption to keep down the Mexican people, hardworking, God-fearing people, and bring that country up by being a good neighbor," Gohmert said, according to The Hill.
Several conservative House Republicans had been reticent to pass the spending bill because it included a provision to fund transgender military service members' medical costs. Trump responded to these lawmakers' concerns by outright banning transgender Americans from serving in the military, The New York Times reports.
It remains unclear whether the spending package can pass in the Senate with the wall funding intact. Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California has deemed any appropriations for Trump's wall "a nonstarter."
On March 30, Ryan himself had been skeptical that Congress would provide any funding for the wall before 2018.
"The big chunk of money for the wall, really, is... next fiscal year's appropriations because they literally can't start construction even this quickly," Ryan told CBS News.
The House Speaker's turnaround on the project arrives just as new polling indicates that the proposed wall would be deeply unpopular amongst the public.
On July 31, a Rasmussen Reports survey found that only 37 percent of registered voters believed a border wall was necessary, while 56 percent did not want to project to be built, the Washington Examiner reports.
While funding for the wall remains in legislative limbo, the Trump administration has been moving ahead to make way for the project. On Aug. 1, the Department of Homeland Security announced that it would waive federal environmental laws to construct prototypes for the proposed wall along the southern border of San Diego, NPR reports.