WASHINGTON – If President Donald Trump declares that it is urgent to build the wall with Mexico, he still needs money to pay for it. And transferring money from other accounts to provide the $ 5.7 billion that he wants is not done without political problems.
The administration has considered several sources of funding – including disaster funds, counter-narcotics accounts and military-building dollars – to finance the Trump Wall, according to congressional advisers and officials. from the White House.
Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney said several accounts were available.
One possibility is to move some of the $ 13 billion in disaster aid approved by the Puerto Rico Congress last year for a dozen states, including California and Texas, hit hard. by hurricanes, floods and other disasters. The money is used to fund the corps' projects and help in Puerto Rico raises to more than $ 2 billion.
But Texas lawmakers revolted against the White House's plan to exploit the funds of Hurricane Harvey. Sen. John Cornyn of Texas said Thursday that he had obtained from the White House the assurance that money would not be used for the wall.
"We were clear enough to think that it would be a mistake," said Cornyn, who, along with the state governor and other legislators, urged the White House to stand at the same time. 39 away from this account. "He can only get limited funds, but I'm confident enough that he will not get funds in the event of a disaster."
A more likely option is the military construction account used to upgrade bases and facilities.
Congressional advisers said that there was $ 21 billion available. This includes about $ 10 billion of funds from the 2019 fiscal year ending September 30 and $ 11 billion remaining from the previous four years, said assistants. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not allowed to speak publicly about funding details.
But using the money from military construction can also hurt the resistance. The money is often used to improve housing, roads, hospitals and other facilities, and can be used to eliminate mold or other dangerous problems on the premises. military installations in congressional districts of the country and around the world.
As an example, said the assistants, there is funding for the construction of a medical facility in a US base in Germany. If these funds were used, the medical center could be left half built.
The president may decide to use military construction funds, but it will be up to the Defense Department to determine which specific projects would lose their money, said the collaborators.
Although the president has the power to take the funds, the assistants said that, according to the law, this money should be used to support the US armed forces. The key question is whether Trump could prove that the funds were spent to actually support the troops.
The Department of Defense has refused to provide details on the amount available.
It is potentially easier to exploit the military's anti-drug account, so-called money under Article 284, as Mark suggests. Meadows, CR-N., Trump's ally and leader of the conservative Freedom group. But that's not enough with about $ 800 million available.
The use of this money would not require the declaration of a national emergency, but collaborators said that it was less likely that the president would draw on these funds.
"I have obviously been suggesting 284 for a long time," Meadows said recently. "There is not enough money out there, but it's a good start."
The White House was looking for funds because it had become clear that Congress would not provide the money that Trump was asking for to build the wall. Trump had campaigned on the promise that Mexico would pay for it.
This week, legislators reached a bipartisan agreement providing for nearly $ 1.4 billion in fencing and gates along the southern border as part of an extensive funding program aimed at avoid further closure of the federal government.
The Senate approved the compromise on Thursday and the passage to the House was assured before the deadline set Friday. The White House said Trump would sign it, then declare a national emergency and possibly invite other executive powers to build the wall.