12 January, 2019
Lindsey Graham, a Republican and close White House ally, said Thursday he doesn't see a way to resolve the shutdown dispute that has paralyzed much of the federal government.
The dispute reached its apex during a Wednesday meeting in the Situation Room when Trump asked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi point-blank if he reopened the government whether she would then agree to negotiate somewhat on appropriating more funds for a border wall. In the meantime, hundreds of thousands of federal workers are set to miss paychecks Friday.
According to the Houston Chronicle, the report of Trump's plans left city and county officials "scrambling to figure out how local flood control plans would be affected" by the White House proposal, a year and a half after Hurricane Harvey devastated parts of Houston.
"I will build a great, great wall on our southern border", he declared on June 16, 2015 at Trump Tower in NY.
Graham, an influential White House ally on Capitol Hill, said using "emergency powers" was likely Trump's only path to a wall considering Democrats' refusal to include wall funding in a spending bill that would end the partial government shutdown.
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"What we're not looking to do right now is national emergency", he continued. Right now, barriers blanket about one-third of the 1,954-mile (3,145-kilometer) border with Mexico.
Todd Semonite, commanding general of the Army Corps of Engineers, was traveling with Trump on Thursday.
Regardless of where the money is found, an emergency declaration would draw immediate legal challenge from Democrats, who have accused Trump of trying to manufacture a crisis at the southern border to justify his wall. The White House has directed the Corps to review its budget, including $13.9 billion in emergency funds earmarked a year ago by Congress, to see what money could be diverted to building a wall.
But even some Republican lawmakers uneasy about the idea of pulling money from Army Corps projects saw few alternate options. The vote was 411-7 and the measure now goes to President Donald Trump for his signature.
"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", said Velazquez in a statement.