According to a new report much of the money Donald Trump wants to shuffle around from other federal programs to build his wall has already been spent. This means that the money Trump planned to steal from these programs will not be available to him and his administration.
Despite his declared ‘national emergency,’ Trump will still have to obtain approval from both parties in Congress for at least one-third of the money that was previously identified.
Because the money has already been spent it will be practically impossible for the president to circumvent Congress. Which means Congress, especially the House and Speaker Nancy Pelosi, will still be able stop a large part of Trump’s ’emergency’ border funds from being used for a wall.
“A reprogramming request must be approved by both Republicans and Democrats on the four authorizing and appropriating panels that oversee the Pentagon,” the new report notes. “Such approval in this case is all but certain to fail. All it would take is one chairman or ranking member to say no.”
Indiana Democrat Peter J. Visclosky, chairman of the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, made clear that he would reject any request to redirect military money to pay for a border wall. He said:
“I am adamantly opposed to the use of any funds provided by Congress to the Department of Defense for the unauthorized construction of a wall on the Southwest border.”
“I and the other members of the House Appropriations Committee will carefully examine each element of the President’s proposal and the serious jurisdictional and Constitutional concerns that it raises.”
Even some congressional Republicans have said they are opposed to taking funds away from military construction budgets to pay for Trump’s wall.
Several days ago a GOP Congressman from Texas, Roger Williams, announced at a town hall meeting that he is opposed to taking money away from previously earmarked military construction projects to build any border barrier.
On Feb. 15 Trump announced that he would use emergency powers to take $6.7 billion from other military programs to finance the construction of new barriers along the southern border.
Included in Trump’s planned diversion were:
- $3.6 billion from unspent military construction money,
- $2.5 billion in unspent Pentagon counterdrug funds and
- $600 million from a Treasury Department asset forfeiture account. But the Defense Department later announced that much of the money has already been spent.
Yesterday Senate Democrats introduced a resolution to block Trump’s ‘national emergency’ declaration and construction of his wall.
In addition, 16 states have joined together to sue Trump to stop him from using an emergency declaration to subvert the will of Congress.
It is looking increasingly likely that Trump’s wall will never be built, despite his much-publicized declaration of a national emergency.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.