President Trump may soon tap into $13.9 billion that has been congressionally approved as emergency supplemental funding to fund the wall
Press Secretary Sarah Sanders has revealed the Army Corps of Engineers has been directed to examine ways to use this funding for a border wall.
Many Legal Scholars believe President Trump can indeed declare a state of emergency to fund the wall.
The White House has directed the Army Corps of Engineers to “look at possible ways of funding border security,” Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told Fox News on Thursday night, as the ongoing partial federal government shutdown over money for a border wall is less than two days away from becoming the longest in the nation’s history.
Separately, Fox News is told the White House directed the Corps to examine the February 2018 emergency supplemental, which included disaster relief for California, Florida, Texas, and Puerto Rico, among other states, to see what unspent funds could be diverted to a border wall, according to a congressional aide familiar with the matter.
Such a move still could require the president to declare a national emergency in order to access those funds to build a wall, because they were earmarked for a different purpose. The discussions with the Corps suggest the White House is closely looking at the possibility of declaring such an emergency, as Trump has floated repeatedly in recent days.
Sanders said Trump has not met with the Corps to discuss the matter.
Approximately $13.9 billion is available from the congressionally approved February 2018 supplemental spending bill, intended to cover natural disasters, and much of the available money comes from flood control projects, Fox News is told.
The Military Construction appropriations bill could provide additional funding in the event of an emergency declaration.
Earlier Thursday, Trump told reporters, “I have the absolute right to declare a national emergency” and that, “if this doesn’t work out…I would almost say definitely.”
The president, before and after his election, promised that Mexico “is going to pay for the wall.” On Thursday, Trump — reiterating a familiar argument in recent weeks — said the favorable trade terms in the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), signed last year but not yet law in the U.S., effectively fund the wall and fulfill that promise.
“When I say Mexico’s gonna pay for the wall — do you think they’re going to write a check?” Trump asked. “No, they’re paying for the wall in a great trade deal.”