President Donald Trump is thinking about taking money from the funds for Puerto Rico, Texas and other areas hit by disasters and pay for the border wall
It seems that the president was recently briefed on a plan as part of the emergency declaration that will allow Washington to divert some of the Army Corps of Engineers funds allocated last year by Congress for disaster relief in such areas as Puerto Rico, Texas and California to pay for the US-Mexico border wall, according to three U.S. officials familiar with the briefing.
This plan could be carried out if Trump declares a national emergency in order to build the wall. Therefore, Washington could dip into the money set aside to fund projects all over the country including more than $2 billion planned for storm-damaged areas of Puerto Rico due to Hurricane Maria which hit the region in 2017 and resulted in the deaths of nearly 3,000 people, more than $4.5 billion for projects in Texas, including those related to 2017’s Hurricane Harvey, more than $2 billion allocated to projects in California, including flood prevention and protection projects along the Yuba River Basin and the Folsom Damas, and elsewhere.
There is more than $13 billion not yet physically spent on the infrastructure repair projects, funds that were just recently received and have been promised to these communities. However, in case of a national emergency declaration by the President, he could take the money from these civil works projects and use it to build the border wall that Democrats have persistently opposed.
Reportedly Senior Defense Department officials discussed this proposal with President Trump on Thursday during the flight to the southern border when he was informed that the Army Corps could build 315 miles of border wall in about 18 months. The barrier would be a 30-foot bollard-style wall with a feature designed to prevent climbing, according to officials.
However, some of the President’s advisers have warned him of a range of possible negative outcomes, like the risk of losing in court, giving a dysfunctional Congress a pass from fulfilling its duties, while other advisers have suggested a national emergency declaration is a form of government overreach that is antithetical to conservative principles.