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Brady joins effort to have money from busted drug lord help pay for border wall

Conroe Courier

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Washington, May 2, 2017 | comments
By: John S. Marshall 

U.S. Rep. Kevin Brady, R-The Woodlands, is joining an effort to have billions of dollars the U.S. is seeking to seize from a man once considered to be one of the world's richest and most powerful druglords go towards helping to pay for President Trump's proposed border wall.

Brady is co-sponsoring the so-called El Chapo Act, or H.R. 2186, a bill that would take the estimated $14 billion the federal government says Joaquin Archivaldo Guzman, commonly known as "El Chapo," amassed while running an international drug cartel and have it go towards construction of the wall and other border measures.

"For decades, drug lords like El Chapo have spread addiction and violence, destroying countless lives in the process," Brady said in a statement. "The EL CHAPO Act is a creative and direct solution that will help secure the border while providing a fiscally responsible way of fulfilling one of President Trump's key promises to the American people. I am proud to be working with Senator Cruz and Representative Brooks on this important legislation, and I look forward to helping it pass the House."

 

Sen. Ted Cruz R-Texas, has also introduced his version of a bill that would also have the money and assets seized from Guzman pay for the wall.

"Fourteen billion dollars will go a long way toward building a wall that will keep Americans safe and hinder the illegal flow of drugs, weapons, and individuals across our southern border," Cruz said of his proposed bill. "Ensuring the safety and security of Texans is one of my top priorities. We must also be mindful of the impact on the federal budget. By leveraging any criminally forfeited assets of El Chapo and his ilk, we can offset the wall's cost and make meaningful progress toward achieving President Trump's stated border security objectives."

 

Meanwhile, a number of lawmakers -- especially Democrats -- are skeptical about the prospects of building a wall along the 2,000-mile border with Mexico, saying it would be impractical and excessively expensive. Some other lawmakers -- including fellow Republicans-- are also dismissing Trump's promises that Mexico will end up paying for the wall.

In other matters, Brady, a regular and harsh critic of how the IRS operates and of its top officials, is still seeking to have the Department of Justice to take a "fresh look" at evidence they say former IRS official Lois Lerner broke the law by targeting Americans for their political beliefs.

Lerner was at the center of a political firestorm that broke in 2013 when an inspector general's audit found that IRS agents had improperly singled out Tea Party and other conservative groups for extra scrutiny during the 2010 and 2012 elections.

Brady is also seeking to have the head of the agency, John Koskinen, fired. Brady has told President Trump that the federal tax code and other problems at the IRS can't be fixed until Koskinen is removed from the agency. Koskinen was not the head of the IRS when the scandal involving Lerner erupted, but Brady is calling his handling of the matter since he took over at the agency as "shockingly inept."

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