Sarah Sanders, press secretary, told Fox News Thursday night that the White House had asked the US military to "look for ways to fund border security." far from becoming the longest in the history of the nation.
Moreover, Fox News reportedly learned that the White House had ordered the Corps to consider a February 2018 emergency supplement, which included disaster relief for California, Florida, Texas and Puerto Rico, among other states, to see what unused funds could be diverted to a border. wall, according to a congressional aide aware of the issue.
Such an approach could still force the president to declare a national emergency in order to access these funds in order to build a wall because they were destined for another purpose. Discussions with the Corps suggest that the White House is closely studying the possibility of declaring such an emergency, as Trump has floated several times in recent days.
Sanders said Trump had not met with the Corps to discuss the issue.
About $ 13.9 billion is available in the supplementary spending bill approved in February 2018 by Congress, intended to cover natural disasters, and much of the money available comes from anti-disaster projects. Floods, Fox News was told. The Military Buildings Appropriations Bill could provide for additional funding in the event of an emergency declaration.
Earlier on Thursday, Trump told reporters: "I have the absolute right to declare a national emergency" and that, "if it does not work … I would almost say definitively."
The president, before and after his election, promised that Mexico "will pay for the wall". On Thursday, Trump – reiterating a familiar argument in recent weeks – said the favorable trade terms of the US-Mexico-Canada agreement (USMCA), signed last year but not yet legislated in the US United, effectively fund the wall and fulfill that promise.
"When I say that Mexico will pay for the wall – do you think they're going to make a check?" Trump asked. "No, they are paying for the wall in a big commercial deal."
Texas Republicans, Ted Cruz and John Cornyn, at a press conference following President Trump's visit to McAllen, Texas, later in the day, said the Democratic Party's progressive wing was at the origin of the partial closure and that no compromise seemed to be envisaged. probably accordingly.
"I think the president has come down, the number one, to listen – to listen to the forces of order, to listen to the border patrol – but also to stress the need for border security," said Cruz journalists. "Previously, border security was in Washington, a region where there is a bipartite agreement, it's still in Texas, but unfortunately, in Washington, the environment in which we operate is different."
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Cruz added: "The objection of the Democratic senators to the proposal of the president is not a substantive objection." That was $ 5.7 billion for border security, including a physical barrier. Schumer and virtually every Democrat in the Senate voted resolutely $ 40 billion for border security, including a physical barrier. "
Schumer and other Democrats, including at the time Meaning. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton supported the 2006 Secure Fence Act, which allowed the construction of some 700 km of fences at the border. According to government figures, in 2015 virtually all fences were completed.
"Schumer and Pelosi both feel captured by the far left of the Democratic Party, forcing them to close their doors," Cruz added.
Cornyn, the senior Texas senator, said security experts were supporting the need for a wall.
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"Yes, in some places, we need a physical barrier, because that's what the experts tell us – that's what the Border Patrol tells us," Cornyn said. "For my part, I would prefer to listen to the experts rather than the politicians in Washington, DC"
Meanwhile, Democratic senators and union leaders led federal workers' rallies in the White House and across the country on Thursday, just one day before the partial closure of funding for the border wall, which could deprive them of their first full paycheck.
Approximately 420,000 employees were considered essential and worked without pay. Another 380,000 remained at home without being paid. On Thursday afternoon, after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Was assured that President Trump would sign the bill, the Senate will pass a bill providing for the payment of a certain amount of money. late payment to fired federal workers.
Statistics provided by the Department of Labor indicate that 4,760 federal employees claimed unemployment benefits in the last week of December, an increase of 3,831 from 929 who applied the previous week.
"The government's closure is not a policy that should be followed," House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., Said on Thursday before a crowd of protesters in Washington. Some near the White House chanted, "Do your job, so we can do ours."
Some disagreement on the way forward was evident Thursday among the best Republicans. South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham urged Trump to declare a national emergency for the construction of the wall, saying Democrats in the House refused to negotiate in a reasonable manner. Sources told Fox News that Trump had previously killed Graham's effort to end the closure with a potential compromise.
"I would advise against this as a dangerous precedent, even if the president has the power to do so," said Senator Chuck Grassley of R-Iowa at Fox News. "I would advise against it, and I think every party should put something on the table to negotiate."
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If the White House were to adopt an emergency declaration, it would have some legal channels to take. The National Emergencies Act gives the president broad authority to declare emergency situations. Several federal laws could then allow the White House to build a wall.
A law, 33 US Code § 2293 – "Reprogramming in a National Emergency", authorizes the president to "use the resources of the Army Department's civil engineering works program, including funds, personnel and equipment, to construct or assist in the construction, operation, maintenance and repair of civil works, military constructions and authorized civil defense projects essential to national defense . "
Another law, 10 US Code § 2808 – "Construction Authority in case of declaration of war or national emergency", authorizes the Secretary of Defense, in an emergency declared by the President, to use "funds allocated to military construction" for the purpose of undertaking "military construction projects".
Chad Pergram, Alex Pappas, John Roberts and Mike Emanunel of Fox News contributed to this report.