Politics: Trump eases off using disaster relief funds for his wall after bipartisan pushback - PressFrom - US

PoliticsTrump eases off using disaster relief funds for his wall after bipartisan pushback

04:40  12 january  2019
04:40  12 january  2019 Source:   washingtonexaminer.com

Exclusive: Pentagon preparing options to build border wall as Trump weighs emergency declaration

Exclusive: Pentagon preparing options to build border wall as Trump weighs emergency declaration President Trump's declaration of a national emergency would allow the Army Corps of Engineers to design barriers and let contracts to build them. Trump, on Thursday, suggested the declaration could happen at anytime. Talks between Trump and Democratic leaders fell apart Wednesday to end the partial shutdown of the federal government over border security. “If this doesn’t work out, probably I will do it – I would almost say definitely,” Trump said. “We have plenty of funds if there’s a national emergency.

President Donald Trump reportedly plans to stop financial aid to millions of Americans in Puerto The president believes, without evidence, that the Puerto Rican government is using the disaster relief His recent outburst stems from an October article in the Wall Street Journal, according to Axios, that

President Trump Wednesday expressed optimism about reaching a bipartisan deal on immigration, suggesting he is Trump 's comments came after the White House, earlier in the day, announced it I don’t [believe the wall is off the table]. In fact, I just watched Joe Manchin and he said Schumer does

Trump eases off using disaster relief funds for his wall after bipartisan pushback© Provided by MediaDC: Washington Newspaper Publishing Company, Inc.

The Trump administration is appearing to ease off a plan to use disaster relief funding to build a border wall amid bipartisan pushback, allies say.

White House officials told various news outlets Thursday that President Trump is weighing using billions of dollars of Army Corps of Engineers funding allocated for states and territories suffering from storm or wildfire damage, including Puerto Rico, Florida, Texas, and California, in order to get around Congress and build his border wall.

Graham: Time for Trump to declare national emergency for border wall

Graham: Time for Trump to declare national emergency for border wall Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on Thursday said President Trump should declare a national emergency so he could build the U.S.-Mexico border wall after last-ditch negotiations in the Senate fell apart. "It is time for President Trump to use emergency powers to fund the construction of a border wall/barrier. I hope it works," Graham said in a statement. Graham's decision to throw his support behind the president declaring migration at the southern border a national emergency follows remarks earlier this week when he told reporters that it should be the "last resort" and is not the "preferred route.

President Donald Trump said Monday he believes Congress will act quickly to provide disaster relief funding to the areas affected by Hurricane Harvey. "We think Congress will feel very much the way I feel and in very much a bipartisan way," Trump said.

President Trump addressed the Department of Homeland Security, discussing his most recent executive order calling for the construction of a border wall at the border between the United States and Mexico.Published OnJan. 25, 2017CreditCreditDoug Mills/The New York Times.

But Trump on Friday said he’s “not looking” to declare a national emergency for the border wall right now.

Congressional allies, meanwhile, denied that Trump is looking to divert disaster funding for the wall.

"I've spoken directly with the White House," Texas Rep. Kevin Brady, the ranking member on the House Ways and Means Committee, said in a tweet.

Trump, he wrote, “Fully supports Corps funding to help Harvey communities rebuild/prevent future flooding."

Brady is referring to 2017’s Hurricane Harvey in Houston, which inflicted $125 billion in damage, primarily from flooding. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, also said Friday he opposes “any reprogramming of Harvey disaster funds,” according to comments he made at the Texas Public Policy Foundation and relayed from his office.

'We have people counting on that': Fla. governor weighs in on using hurricane funds for border wall

'We have people counting on that': Fla. governor weighs in on using hurricane funds for border wall Ron DeSantis hasn't even finished his first week as Florida governor and he already appears to be on a collision course with the man who helped him get the job: President Donald Trump. 

President Trump ’s main campaign promise was to BUILD THE WALL . We have contacted the Trump Administration to secure a point of contact where all the funds will go upon completion. • We are working with a law firm on a legal document that will bind the government to using the funds for

Trump is also reported to have told senior officials that he wants to take back some of the money already given to Puerto Rico. It was reportedly in reaction to a Wall Street Journal piece that said Puerto Rico bond prices soared after reports of more disaster relief coming to the island territory.

Trump backed off the idea of diverting disaster funding after Republicans in disaster-struck states spoke up. Diverting disaster funding would harm communities recovering from storms and wildfires, experts and critics say, and set a dangerous precedent on how presidents use money appropriated by Congress.

“This is weaponizing disaster assistance funding,” Craig Fugate, the administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency in the Obama administration, told the Washington Examiner. “It’s using it for purposes to extract concessions or force issues that have nothing to do with a disaster.”

U.S. governors on Friday criticized the potential move, saying it would leave their states and territories vulnerable.

New Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a conservative and Trump supporter, said he opposes the president using hurricane funding for a border wall. Florida is still recovering from Hurricane Michael, which hit the state in October and is blamed for at least 60 deaths.

Bill on federal workers' back pay in shutdown heads to Trump

Bill on federal workers' back pay in shutdown heads to Trump Lawmakers have tried to reassure federal employees that Congress is aware of the financial hardship they are enduring from the partial government shutdown. By an overwhelming vote, the House has passed a bill requiring that all government workers receive retroactive pay after the partial shutdown ends. The Senate approved the bill unanimously Thursday. The president is expected to sign the legislation. Trump visited McAllen, Texas, and the Rio Grande on Thursday to highlight what he calls a crisis of drugs and crime along the border.

The House of Representatives passed a billion disaster relief package Friday morning. WASHINGTON —President Donald Trump signed a billion disaster relief package into law Friday afternoon, just hours after it passed the House with a broad bipartisan majority.

U.S. President Donald Trump praised his administration on Tuesday for "doing a really good job" with disaster relief for Puerto Rico in the aftermath Trump agreed to boost federal disaster assistance, ordering increased funding be made available to assist with debris removal and emergency protective

“No wall should be funded on the pain and suffering of U.S. citizens who have endured tragedy and loss through a natural disaster,” Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello, a Democrat, said in a statement. Puerto Rico is still recovering from Hurricane Maria’s devastation in 2017.

Rep. John Garamendi, D-Calif., told Bloomberg on Friday the White House is considering using money from $13.9 billion in Army Corps projects funded by Congress in a February 2018 bill providing disaster relief for Puerto Rico, Texas, California, and Florida. Congressional aides also confirmed the White House is reviewing the pot of money to build its proposed $5.7 billion wall.

Disaster response experts say the Trump administration could likely use some of that money for the border wall, because the $13.9 billion represents appropriated Army Corps disaster relief funding that has not been obligated — or used — meaning no contracts have been issued yet for the work.

“Technically, it's maybe not a bad strategy,” Fugate said. “Tactically, I can see their thinking. It makes sense.”

'Wall Won't Get Built' If Trump Declares Emergency

'Wall Won't Get Built' If Trump Declares Emergency “I would hate to see it,” Republican Senator Ron Johnson from Wisconsin said. "I would prefer not, primarily because, if we do that, it's going to go to court."

Corker said that his concerns about Trump ’s ability to govern are shared by nearly every Republican in the Going after Corker is like when Trump described the health bill that passed the House as “mean.” In 1966 Fulbright decided to use his power as committee chairman to convene a high-level

Trump threatens to cut off federal funding for California wildfire relief . "[ Trump ] has chosen a wall over workers," Pelosi said as she and Schumer stood in front of furloughed employees Wednesday. The Florida Republican contends Trump was elected on the promise of building a wall along the U.S

But other experts said lawmakers could sue the administration for diverting appropriated disaster funding for an unintended purpose.

“The main problem is you have set bad precedent that this is just explicitly a slush fund, and if a president wants to decide something is a disaster, you can spend billions of dollars without congressional authorization,” Ray Lehmann, director of finance, insurance, and trade policy at the R Street Institute, told the Washington Examiner.

Garamendi told the Los Angeles Times the Trump administration is specifically targeting $5 billion in Army Corps projects for California and Puerto Rico to fund the border wall.

Army Corps disaster relief funding usually go to flood control and water infrastructure projects, such as dams and levees. Such projects require years of planning before construction begins.

“Diverting this money is going to leave people in harm's way,” Alice Hill, who was director of resilience policy on the Obama administration's National Security Council, told the Washington Examiner. “Floods are our most damaging natural hazard. When you don't increase flood protection, more people are at risk of death, economic damage, and being displaced from homes. To pull the rug from ongoing work delays that protection and is a colossal waste of money.”

Trump has previously taken action that could increase the risk of floods — even as climate change threatens to make storms more severe and expensive.

In August 2017, he revoked Obama-era building standards to protect federally funded infrastructure projects from future flood risk. The Trump administration promised to replace the rules but has not done so.

Human Rights Watch: global pushback against autocrats grows.
Human Rights Watch says there is a growing resistance around the world against the abuses of autocrats by coalitions of states, civic groups and popular movements, which are all pushing back against populists seeking to curtail freedoms. The advocacy group has said in its annual report that the big news of the past year isn't the continuation of authoritarian trends but the growing opposition to them. The group's director, Kenneth Roth, says "the same populists who spread hatred and intolerance are fueling a resistance that keeps winning battles.

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