Trump Considers Taking $2B From Puerto Rico Disaster Fund To Fund Wall
As Puerto Rico still struggles to recover from a massive hurricane a year and a half ago, CNN reports that the Trump White House is considering taking disaster relief funds from the island territory.
According to CNN, the White House is now considering using billions of dollars in Defense Department disaster recovery and military construction funds to fund Trump’s wall along the US-Mexico border, should Congress not give the White House the funds required.
In order to do this, the president would first have to declare a national emergency and then try and rationalize why Title 10 of the US Code would warrant him taking funds from the Pentagon which have been earmarked for the rebuilding of infrastructure after multiple disasters.
“If we don’t make a deal, I would say 100%. I don’t want to say 100% because maybe something else comes up,” Trump said yesterday when asked what the chances are that he will take the route of declaring a national emergency if Congress won’t give him the funding. “But if we don’t make a deal, I would say it would be very surprising to me that I would not declare a national emergency and just fund it through the various mechanisms” he continued.
A total of $2 billion has been earmarked for Puerto Rico. This money already has a planned use and the ailing island territory has already been promised these funds. Money could also come from the $4.5 billion earmarked for disaster recovery in Texas after Hurricane Harvey ravaged the area in 2017. There is a total of $13 billion earmarked for disaster recovery in Florida, Puerto Rico Texas and California combined, all which Trump could try and use in an effort to build his wall.
As the government shutdown is now on it’s 21st day, no real end is in sight. If the president does take the approach of declaring a national emergency, it is a near certainty that there will be multiple court challenges. With that said, government officials could start building the wall within just 45 days, according to CNN’s report.