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Trump pitched Republican leaders on a solar-paneled border wall

Evan Vucci / AP

In the meeting at the White House today with Republican Congressional leaders, President Trump spent some time talking up his latest idea for the border wall. According to 3 people with direct knowledge of the meeting, Trump floated the idea that the wall could be covered in solar panels and the electricity generated used to pay for the cost.

Trump said his vision was a wall 40 feet to 50 feet high and covered with solar panels so they'd be "beautiful structures," the people said. The President said that most walls you hear about are 14 feet or 15 feet tall but this would be nothing like those walls. Trump told the lawmakers they could talk about the solar-paneled wall as long as they said it was his idea. One person cautioned that the President wasn't presenting the solar-paneled wall as the definite solution.

Where this idea might come from: A proposal to cover the wall with solar panels was among those submitted when the U.S. requested designs earlier this year, according to the AP. Companies winning contracts and asked to build prototypes may be announced this month.

What else was discussed:

  • The majority of the meeting focused on healthcare. Trump started off by saying the base was stronger than ever now and it was time to come through for them. He asked Mitch McConnell when the bill would be ready and McConnell said the bill would be released soon and scored by the CBO and voted on before July 4. Everyone agreed June would be spent talking about the failures of the Obama healthcare bill.
  • McConnell suggested acting on the debt-ceiling before the August recess to clear the way for tax reform. But Trump said they ought to do it after August so it doesn't cloud the messaging [presumably on healthcare]. After the meeting, one source said the administration has little control over the timing of the debt-ceiling vote and that they expected Congress to deal with it promptly.
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