Update: this article previously said $7 million in the headline by accident. It is $7 BILLION that has been reported.
After weeks of a shutdown and warning the Democrats he could simply declare a National Emergency to build the wall, it appears President Trump has waited long enough.
Reports from CNN are breaking that President Trump’s White House is preparing that Emergency Resolution and will put it into play very soon.
Reports say the Trump Administration has identified at least $7 BILLION available to be used immediately on the wall!
That’s our President Trump!
He always had this in his back pocket.
He gave the Democrats every chance to be reasonable.
And now (it appears) he will blaze ahead without them.
In short? Chuck and Nancy lost on many levels.
Here are more details, from CNN:
The White House is preparing a draft proclamation for President Donald Trump to declare a national emergency along the southern border and has identified more than $7 billion in potential funds for his signature border wall should he go that route, according to internal documents reviewed by CNN.
Trump has not ruled out using his authority to declare a national emergency and direct the Defense Department to construct a border wall as Congress and the White House fight over a deal to end the government shutdown. But while Trump's advisers remain divided on the issue, the White House has been moving forward with alternative plans that would bypass Congress.
"The massive amount of aliens who unlawfully enter the United States each day is a direct threat to the safety and security of our nation and constitutes a national emergency," a draft of a presidential proclamation reads.
"Now, therefore, I, Donald J. Trump, by the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C 1601, et seq.), hereby declare that a national emergency exists at the southern border of the United States," the draft adds.
The draft was updated as recently as last week, a US government official told CNN.
According to options being considered, the administration could pull: $681 million from Treasury forfeiture funds, $3.6 billion in military construction, $3 billion in Pentagon civil works funds, and $200 million in Department of Homeland Security funds, the official said.
As lawmakers discussed a short-term measure to fund the government Thursday, Trump again raised the prospect of other ways to fund a border wall without congressional approval.
"I have other alternatives if I have to and I'll use those alternatives if I have to," he told reporters.
"A lot of people who wants this to happen. The military wants this to happen. This is a virtual invasion of our country," Trump said.
The Defense Department referred a request for comment from CNN to the White House.
If the declaration is made, the US Army Corps of Engineers would be deployed to construct the wall, some of which could be built on private property and would therefore require the administration to seize the land, which is permitted if it's for public use.
The administration's plans acknowledge the possibility for lawsuits if they move forward with acquiring private property. The documents also reflect a sense of urgency with administration plans, noting that environmental reviews can be skipped and DHS can use waivers to bypass contracting laws.
If the President proceeds with the declaration, it'll likely be challenged in court and by Democrats in Congress, as critics have argued that Trump cannot use the national emergency authority to free up taxpayer funds and build the border wall he has long promised his political supporters.
The question of legality and court challenges is still one of the main hang-ups in using executive action to secure the wall funding. Trump's advisers have cautioned that taking that route would lead to certain legal challenge, meaning the wall construction would still be delayed.
The draft document cites Title 10 of the US Code, which allows Trump to unlock a stash of Pentagon funds that are earmarked but have no signed contracts for spending that money. That would give the President authority to pull from military construction funds and civil works projects, like infrastructure repair projects.
Rep. Dan Crenshaw, R-Texas, tweeted earlier this month that acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, "assured Texans that he understood the deep concerns about using Harvey relief funds for the border." CNN previously reported that the Pentagon was asked to provide a list of those projects in anticipation of a national emergency.
The Pentagon has assisted the Department of Homeland Security in the past. For example, the Army Corps of Engineers, a federal agency within DOD that provides public engineering services, has helped evaluate prototypes of the border wall.
President Trump has been resolute and steadfast in his position:
If there was any question on whether President Trump had the authority to take this action, Breitbart just published a fantastic article removing all doubt:
Federal law could not be more clear that President Donald Trump can declare a national emergency at the U.S.-Mexican border, and that such a declaration gives him access to all the funding he needs to build the wall.
Congressional Democrats have rejected all compromise legislation that would have given them half a loaf, ironically putting the president in a situation where the only way he can keep his most-often-repeated campaign promise is to declare a border emergency, where he does not need to compromise with Democrats on anything.
The National Emergencies Act of 1976 gives every president unconditional authority on any subject, including a border emergency. Codified at 50 U.S.C. § 1601, this federal statute provides that “the words ‘any national emergency in effect’ means a general declaration of emergency made by the President.”
Contrary to the hyperventilating from partisan Democrats and media pundits pretending to be legal experts, these emergencies are common, and can last decades. Presidents have declared58 emergencies since 1979, and 31 of those 58 are still in effect today. The first such emergency, which President Jimmy Carter declared in 1979 against Iran-sponsored terrorism, is still in effect 40 years later.
Congress has passed 136 statutory provisions with presidential emergency powers over the years, delegating significant authority to the president when he declares an emergency. Congress’s research arm notes that in certain types of emergencies, these powers include restricting travel, seizing commodities or property, and regulating businesses.
Not only that, but Congress specifically amended the Posse Comitatus Act – the law that prevents U.S. military troops from operating on U.S. soil, found at 18 U.S.C. § 1385 – in the 2007 National Defense Authorization Act to allow U.S. troops to function domestically under certain circumstances. One of those circumstances is to enforce federal law. Another is that the defense secretary can deploy troops to stop illegal aliens from crossing the U.S. border if the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) requests military assistance.
Once President Trump declares an emergency, under 33 U.S.C. § 1193(a) the secretary of defense:
without regard to any other provision of law, may … apply the resources of the Department of the Army’s civil works program, including funds, personnel, and equipment, to construct or assist in the construction, operation, maintenance, and repair of authorized civil works, military construction, and civil defense projects that are essential to the national defense.
The next subsection of that law adds that this authority continues until the president declares the emergency has ended, plus an additional 180 days.
Congress passed the Secure Fence Act in 2006, which explicitly authorizes building physical barriers on the U.S.-Mexican border. But even if Congress had not passed that law, the separate law quoted above gives President Trump all the authority he needs to act without further approval from Capitol Hill.
Once President Trump declares an emergency on the border, he can direct Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan to order the Army Corps of Engineers to begin constructing the wall. Congress has already appropriated $13.9 billion in emergency funds that the Corps can use, much more funding than the president’s $5.7 billion plan calls for.
Additionally, if DHS requests military support, the Pentagon can then also send however many additional troops the president needs to protect the workers and secure the border during construction.
Lawsuits are likely, but it is possible that only Congress itself has standing to sue. The only other injury that any other plaintiff could claim is that they have a legal right to illegally enter the United States. Even the most liberal judicial activist might look askance at such a lawsuit.
But a challenge by Congress is possible. Under the Supreme Court’s 1997 decision in Raines v. Byrd, the Democrat-controlled House could pass a majority resolution authorizing Speaker Nancy Pelosi to file suit in the name of the U.S. House, arguing that the president’s actions violate the separation of powers.
Such a lawsuit would be a loser, however. None of this wall-construction project requires any inherent authority the president has as commander-in-chief under Article II, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution. Instead all the powers President Trump would be asserting is authority explicitly granted by Congress in statute, using funds that Congress has already authorized and appropriated.
In the end, President Trump should therefore prevail in any legal challenge, the wall will be built, and the border secured. Then the American people will have an opportunity in 2020 to pass judgment on whether the Democrats are correct that the wall achieved nothing, or if President Trump is correct that the wall drastically reduces illegal crossings, drug smuggling, and human trafficking, making American safer.