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

The Trump administration is backing off its plan to use disaster relief funding to build a Mexican border wall due to pushback from members of both parties in Congress. Officials in the White House told news outlets on Thursday that President Trump is considering the use of billions of dollars of

Trump did not secure any of the .7 billion he demanded from Congress to fund his planned steel and concrete wall along 1,000 miles of the U.S The White House did not respond immediately to a request for comment on the report that the president was considering using disaster - relief funds to

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.

Trump eases off using disaster relief funds for his wall after bipartisan McConnell blocks bill to reopen most of Michael T. Flynn, the former national security adviser, backed off his planned testimony in a federal case against a former associate, according to court documents unsealed on

funds used for disaster relief in Puerto Rico, Texas, California, Florida and other states affected by natural disasters in order to pay for his border wall . in Chief, when it comes to declaring a national emergency, I cannot and will not support reallocating funding we approved in a bipartisan effort in

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. 

Though Trump has the ability to declare a national emergency, many believe such a transparent political ploy that has little to do with national security Confirmed: the WH has directed the Army Corps to examine supplemental funding — including disaster relief for Puerto Rico, Florida, Texas

Ultimately, Mr. Trump was persuaded to sign the bipartisan spending measure after all, and at least some close to In agreeing to end the spending fight for now, however, Mr. Trump essentially started a new one with his vow to declare a national emergency, one that crosses party and ideological lines

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.

President is making plans in the event he carries out his threat as Democrats refuse to fund his long-promised border wall .

House Democrats pushed through another multibillion-dollar disaster aid offer Friday — a vote that will be in Following passage, Trump praised his party for a "great Republican vote," saying on Twitter that "we will now work out a bipartisan solution that gets relief for our great States and Farmers" and

“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."

His latest attempt to negotiate with Democrats was a comic disaster , with the president passing out candy bars before saying “bye bye” and storming out of the room when The next day, Trump took a propaganda trip to McAllen, Texas, where he teased his next move while speaking with Sean Hannity.

The Trump administration is backing off its plan to use disaster relief funding to build a Mexican border wall due to pushback from members of both parties in Officials in the White House told news outlets on Thursday that President Trump is considering the use of billions of dollars of Army Corps of

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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