Trump Thinks Disaster Relief Can Fund the Border Wall

Trump said last week he can "relate" to the unpaid workers, but that "they'll make adjustments". Graham and other GOP leaders proposed to let congressional committees hammer out details for funding a border barrier while passing a separate bill to end the shutdown, but Trump shot down the plan, Politico reported.

Puerto Rico is still suffering the aftermath of a hurricane past year, and officials there were dismayed by the reports.

President Trump is considering declaring a national emergency over his proposed border wall, but some Republicans are fearful over what a future Democratic president could do with that power. "If they backfill it immediately after the government opens, that's fine, but I don't want that to be where that money is not available".

U.S. President Donald Trump (2R) argues about border security with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) (R) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) as Vice President Mike Pence sits nearby in the Oval Office on December 11, 2018 in Washington, DC.

"What we're not looking to do right now is national emergency", he continued.

A second official with knowledge of the proposal said it would fund construction of about 315 miles (500 kilometers) of border barrier. The White House has directed the Corps to review its budget, including $13.9 billion in emergency funds earmarked past year by Congress, to see what money could be diverted to building a wall. The majority has also already been obligated - meaning that it has been spent or a contract has been signed and there would be penalties for cancellation. Critics have said the move would be an unconstitutional abuse of emergency powers.

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The vote was 240-179, with 10 Republicans siding with Democrats.

But even some Republican lawmakers uneasy about the idea of pulling money from Army Corps projects saw few alternate options.

"If they drag the money out of here", Simpson said in an interview late Thursday, "a lot of members will have problem with it".

The Independent San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin Cruz has been critical of President Donald Trump's response to disasters in Puerto Rico.

"Siphoning funding from real disasters to pay for a crisis manufactured by the president is wholly unacceptable and the American people won't fall for it", said Velazquez in a statement.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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