By Brendan Cole – Newsweek
Here Is How the American People Would Pay for It
Money could be diverted from disaster funds—like those set aside to help storm-ravaged Puerto Rico—to pay for President Donald Trump’s wall, it has been reported.
NBC News reported that the president is getting legal advice on how, in lieu of government approval for funding his wall, money could be taken from a $13.9 billion pot of Army Corps funding intended for civil works projects.
There continues to be deadlock over the refusal by Democrats and some Republicans to approve Trump’s request for $5.7 billion for the wall.
But if Trump declares a national emergency, he could use some of the $2.4 billion allocated to projects including flood prevention in California, as well as $2.5 billion allocated for rebuilding efforts in Puerto Rico in the wake of Hurricane Maria.
The White House has denied any such plan exists.
But any attempt by Trump to divert funds would result in Democrats submitting legislation to block it. In addition, bypassing Congress could lead to claims he is overusing executive powers.
Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-NY) told NBC: “It would be beyond appalling for the president to take money from places like Puerto Rico that have suffered enormous catastrophes, costing thousands of American citizens lives, in order to pay for Donald Trump’s foolish, offensive and hateful wall.
“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, “ she said.
Trump made a highly-publicized visit to a border patrol station in McAllen in the Rio Grande Valley, where he said: “I have the absolute right to declare a national emergency.”
CNN’s chief White House correspondent, Jim Acosta, who has had several high profile spats with Trump, posted a video on Twitter alongside a steel-slated fence at the border and said he didn’t “see anything resembling a national emergency.”
But this was mocked by Republicans. White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders thanked Acosta, tweeting that he was “doing our job for us and so clearly explaining why WALLS WORK.”
Donald Trump Jr., the president’s son, said Acosta’s video was one of the “best self-own videos,” showing that “walls work.” The president himself retweeted Acosta’s video, with the words “Dear Diary.”