President Trump, as they say, is always five steps ahead of everyone else.
So while everyone was focused on Congress approving a budget for the wall, Trump has reportedly been exploring other options.
And he may have some winners.
Multiple reports have recently been published, one from Rush Limbaugh, one from USA Today, and others, that suggest President Trump can indeed build the wall even if Congress won’t cooperate.
Keep America Safe! Build that wall!
Here is what Trump has consistently said:
Here is part of a transcript from Rush Limbaugh examining the issue:
RUSH: Hi. Welcome back, folks. Rush Limbaugh, the EIB Network, and we are right here with you on Christmas Eve, all three busy broadcast hours, one of them already in the can. And it’s a thrill to be here with you, a fun day. Telephone number if you want to join us, 800-282-2882. The email address, [email protected]
A couple of people who are not Washington insiders have written an op-ed in the USA Today today. It prints out to four pages, and their basic point is that Trump is only gonna get this wall built if he does it using executive power, that the Congress is never gonna agree to it particularly when the Democrats come back and take control of the House. It isn’t gonna happen. They’re never gonna come to an agreement. They’re never gonna give Trump what he wants.
The last thing in the world they’re gonna do is give Trump what he wants while they’re in the middle of trying to bust up Trump’s base — and that is probably true. Now, I think there would be a way to do it, but it would require shifting public blame for this in a majority sense or basis to the Democrats, who deserve it! They’re the ones unwilling to capitulate and agree to border security. It’s no more complicated than that. They’re unwilling to participate in anything involving border security.
Not just a wall. They’re unwilling to appropriate any money whatsoever for border security. So you heard Trump float the idea that he could get money from the defense budget or elsewhere in the federal budget that the executive branch controls and build it that way. And you’ve heard Chuck Schumer and other Democrats say, “He can’t do that! He can’t spend money we have not earmarked. He can’t spend money we have not appropriated.” It simply isn’t true.
There are all kinds of departments and bureaucracies and areas of the executive branch with unspent money, and Trump can go get whatever he needs from any of those different departments and allocate it, and he can get started building the wall, and he can do it constitutionally on the premise that he is engaging in an act of national security! He is the executive. He does not have some of the executive power; he has all of it!
It’s on that basis that if he really wanted to fire Mueller, he could! If he wanted to fire anybody at the Department of Justice, he could. He can fire anybody. He is the only source of power. It is not divided. There isn’t a committee. There’s not a board of directors. He is the executive, and, as such, he alone has the full power of the executive branch. And as long as he is executing those powers under the terms of the Constitution, there is nothing anybody can do to him! The price he pays for blunders in this area is at the ballot box.
The price any president pays is political.
If using his executive power angers many people in the country to vote against him and his party, that’s the price he pays for doing it! But it is not impeachable to act on behalf of national security according to the Constitution, which he is singularly allowed to do. And if he believes that open borders are resulting in the infiltration of the country of all kinds of undesirables — including terrorists and gangs and whatever — then he is perfectly within his rights to go get money already allocated to the executive branch and build the wall.
So you question: Why doesn’t he do it? Well, there are any number of answers to this. One of the answers is that not everybody on his team is for him. Not everybody on his team is for a wall. Not everybody on his team believes in his ideas. By “his team,” I mean in the administration, in the West Wing. As we all know, there are people there who — to one degree or another since Trump was inaugurated — have attempted to undermine via leaks and sabotage. It’s been one of the curious aspects to me, Trump’s staffing choices.
But, remember, to fill positions in Washington in an administration, executive branch, the odds are you’re gonna get some people from Washington. Everybody in that town is a devotee to one degree or another of the swamp. Trump has not brought in a bunch of full-fledged outsiders. He’s got some people that are careerist Washingtonians, career government types. And I’m sure that he has chosen people he thinks can help him navigate the waters — he being an outsider — on the belief that they are on his team.
But I have no doubt, for example, that there are people on his staff… You know, the Drive-Bys are trying to tell you that I changed his mind on signing this continuing resolution. The real truth is that there are people in his administration trying to get him to sign this thing with no deal for him. There are people on his team that are telling him (because it’s the way they think) that getting a deal with Congress is the best thing you can do.
You know it as well as I do that many measures of success, when it comes to president and Congress — individual senators and congressmen and members of the House — is, “How much legislation did they pass? How many bills have their names on them?” This is just the way the town works. It’s one of the many reasons Trump was elected to blow it up that it works this way. My only point is, in staffing an administration — and it’s massive, folks.
It’s so big, Trump doesn’t know them all. He can’t possibly know everybody. Now, in his immediate circle, yeah. But you should take a tour. You can’t, but you should take a tour through the West Wing. You would not believe. I don’t know what you think the West Wing is, which is where the Oval Office is and all the executive offices. They can’t put 5% of the people that work in the administration in the West Wing.
Across the street is the Old Executive Office Building, now called the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, and that’s not even big enough to house ’em all. I mean, they’re everywhere. And they’re all working through their superiors — and everybody has superiors — to try to influence the outcome of the administration. Some try to protect Trump from himself, they think. Some try to advocate and help him.
But they’re all people who believe that the route to success is this old crossing the aisle, shaking hands, showing Washington works, compromise, process. How many media people went bananas last week — we played the sound bites for you — when Trump announced that he was not gonna sign this thing, the CR, and that there was gonna be a shutdown? Remember A.B. Stoddard? She went ballistic on Fox News, on you Bret Baier’s show.
She was beside herself! She could barely speak because the president had rejected what? Process and compromise. Now, you and I both know that process and compromise in Washington equals Republicans caving and getting nothing and Democrats getting what they want. And that’s what it is, and that’s what A.B. Stoddard was upset about. (impression) “Trump should realize he’s got the losing position here. That would be immature thing to do.
“Trump should realize he’s got nowhere to go on this, that he lost the House. Trump should realize it! He should take what he should get, can get, and be thankful for it.” And when Trump didn’t do that — when he said, “Hell, no, not signing this thing. Government shutdown” — and then starts trying to lay blame on the Democrats, they go apoplectic on the basis that Trump has rejected the way Washington works: Compromise and process.
Well, there are people advising Trump to do just what people like A.B. Stoddard wanted him to do. “Take a deal, Mr. President! Take $1.6 billion, take $2 billion and get as much as you can.” But this is how we show people we are governing. This is how we show people that we’re cooperating. Well, that’s not what Trump was elected to do. Trump was elected precisely to overwhelm and overcome this process because we always end up on the short end of the stick on it.
We have been fed up for years and years working under these concepts of process and compromise where we always end up losing and our politicians that cave into it are then praised to the hilt as mature. “They’re growing in office!” But we always end up losing somehow — legislatively or otherwise — to the Democrats.
Well, Trump has totally eschewed process and compromise now. And his position is that until the Democrats are forthcoming with the amount of money he wants for border security, the government is gonna remain shut down. And so it is.
Read the full transcript here.
Here is part of the USA Today argument:
The federal government has shut down because Republicans can’t agree on funding for President Donald Trump’s main campaign promise to build a wall on the southern border with Mexico, and Democrats are insisting they will not vote for wall funding. This typical Washington gridlock is surmountable because Trump can build the wall on his own.
A week ago, the White House put out a call to federal agencies to look for “pots of money” in their existing budgets that could be cobbled together to pay for border wall construction. Immediately, Sen. John Thune, the Republican whip in the upper chamber, shot down the idea of shifting funds from executive departments to the border, saying, “I’m not a big fan of moving money.” Like it or not, there are sources of revenue in the executive branch that the president has authority to use without congressional approval.
The Department of Agriculture has about $200 billion in outstanding loans for rural development projects such as community buildings, bridges, roads, fire stations, police stations, water projects and barriers such as fencing and walls. These federal loans to local communities have low default rates that are attractive to private-sector investors because they represent large, reliable cash flows — the kind of investments that big money funds desperately desire.
About $50-100 billion worth currently held by USDA are very marketable and attractive commercial paper investments. The rights to collect the remainder of the debt on these loans could be sold to private parties who would pay a premium for such a steady stream of cash payments. The sales would give a profit cushion to the government and alleviate taxpayers from any future risk of nonpayment while retaining certain borrower guarantees.
For example, Trump could authorize the sale of $10 billion of USDA rural water loans on the secondary market, which could bring in a lump sum payment of $12 billion or more. Revenue from these proceeds could be directed to build the border wall.
Legal authority comes from many angles. Obama stimulus loans (approximately $2-$5 billion) could be separated out and used because they involved “no year” money, meaning the funds don’t expire if not spent in a certain time frame. The president could tap into USDA’s Community Facilities Programs money if recouped funds from the sale were used for new loans to cooperating communities on the border, such as in Texas.
Trump can get wall money without Congress
Another option would be to utilize funds in the same way USDA undertakes in-kind swaps with private parties to the tune of hundreds of millionsof dollars worth of commodities and services. This would entail swapping the proceeds of the commercial paper sales for the wall, with construction companies being the counterparties.
These are only a few creative funding avenues that could be explored, some less complicated than others. Such an aggressive approach is a sure way for Trump to regain the initiative and get the attention of lawmakers who have an interest in killing any threat to their control over spending, thus giving the president leverage in negotiations as pressure mounts to end the shutdown.
While the Constitution gives Congress power over the government’s purse strings, presidents of both parties have pushed the limits of their flexibility to use executive-branch funds free of congressional micromanagement. President George W. Bush was criticized for keeping billions in war spending off the booksso it could be diverted to secret operations free from congressional oversight. Conservatives complained that President Barack Obama spent billions on health care without congressional authorization.
Read full article here.
Even CBN has analysis suggesting Trump breaking down how Trump can do it:
The Senate has passed a last-minute spending bill keeping the government open until February 8th. The bill funds nine departments that would have run out of money on midnight Friday, preventing a so-called government shutdown.
The House of Representatives is expected to pass the stopgap measure today and send it on to President Trump. But there's one hitch – it doesn't include the $5 billion he wanted for the border wall.
If he signs it, the president could face trouble with supporters who want him to keep his pledge to build a wall on our southern border. Right wing commentators and legislators are criticizing the president for seemingly backing away from his demand for $5 billion to build the wall.
But the president is promising to build a border wall with Mexico "one way or the other."
That may involve some tricky accounting, but it's not impossible.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Tuesday that the administration is looking into different funding sources to come up with the $5 billion in border wall funding the president wants.
Top Democrats hit back on that assessment, including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, (D-NY) who criticized the move Wednesday morning on the Senate floor.
"The president's spokesperson has claimed that the administration can reprogram funds given to other areas of the government to build the full wall. Let me be very clear – let me be very clear. The administration cannot reprogram funds appropriated by Congress for the full wall without our assent. To do so would violate Congress's Article 1 powers. They cannot do it on their own and the House and Senate will not approve a wall," he said.
Schumer made clear that funding across agencies could not be made available to build the wall in its entirety, but the White House maintains it's looking at every avenue.
Meanwhile, President Trump echoed the infamous campaign promise that Mexico will pay for the wall on Twitter Wednesday:
"Mexico is paying (indirectly) for the Wall through the new USMCA, the replacement for NAFTA! Far more money coming to the U.S. Because of the tremendous dangers at the Border, including large-scale criminal and drug inflow, the United States Military will build the Wall!"
How exactly will the military build the wall? Analysts say the Trump administration can use money from the Defense Department's counternarcotics funding, which currently amounts to just over $500 million.
Trump can also pull money from the emergency Military Construction (MILCON) fund, which can be used without congressional approval in cases of national security.
Lastly, the administration can use $10 billion in unused funds allocated for the Army Corps of Engineers by declaring a national emergency. CBN News Chief Political Analyst David Brody says President Trump has been using the words "national emergency" a lot lately, which could be laying the groundwork for him to take that path.