Congressman Walter B. Jones (R-NC) does not believe increasing federal spending, including expenditures for the border wall, should be paid for by raising the national debt.

Though the partial government shutdown begins its third week, there appears to be no movement toward resolving the impasse between Republicans and Democrats over a proposed $5 billion of wall funding along the border of Mexico.

“Whatever compromise is reached, it should be paid for without adding to the deficit or the debt,” Jones said in recent press release. “America’s national debt is nearly $22 trillion. Next year our annual deficit is projected to top $1 trillion. We can’t afford to keep financing the provision of government services by borrowing more and more money. It’s morally irresponsible and it’s got to stop.”

Though Jones missed taking the oath of office Thursday with other members of the 116th Congress, he was sworn-in Friday at a private ceremony in his hometown, Farmville.

“He’s dealing with a medical issue,” said Jones’ Chief of Staff Joshua Bowlen.

Jones was granted a leave of absence on Dec. 11. Bowlen did not provide any details on the nature of Jones’ medical status or when he may return to Washington. Jones hasn't cast a roll call vote since late September and has missed every vote since congress reconvened in November. 

Jones said during his primary election that after 24 years in Congress, this term would be his last because he plans to retire.

While Jones recovers from his illness, he took aim at President Trump’s past assertions about how to pay for the border wall. A deficit hawk, Jones said the money to pay from the wall could come from cutting “wasteful” government spending.

“Improving security on the southern border is essential, and we need a fiscally responsible plan to pay for it,” Jones said. “If Mexico isn’t going to be made to pay for a wall, that means funds must be found internally. Options could include cutting other wasteful federal spending. Foreign aid and the war in Afghanistan would be good places to start. As a wealthy man, the president might consider pledging some of his own funds as well. Whatever it takes, just so long as we don’t add to the debt that is bankrupting our great country.”