Trade balance deficit down by 28.7% in September : CAPMAS    Egypt, FAO sign letter of intent to enhance youth, women empowerment    Egypt's famed marionette musical El-Leila El-Kebira to take part in Tunisia's children festival    Egypt's CBE allocates EGP 50 billion to support tourism sector    PM to UNWFP chief: School feeding programme main pillar of social protection    UK PM Johnson eyes parliament vote before Christmas to 'get Brexit done'    Qatar sees ‘small progress' in resolving Gulf dispute, still believes in GCC    Hong Kong leader Lam visits Beijing as pressure mounts at home    West Ham's Pellegrini says he always trusted his players    Live score: Ahly v Haras El-Hodoud (Egyptian Premier League)    Olympics: Japan's Abe opens Tokyo 2020 National Stadium    Home-cooked food in Iraqi square brings protesters together    Hilton to add 8 hotels to its management portfolio in Egypt, reaching 24 hotels by 2024    Pharos Holding optimistic about the Egyptian economy    UAE enhances economic partnership with Saudi Arabia, Egypt    UN climate talks limp toward finish line, key questions left    World Youth Forum is a platform for peace, constructive dialogue: Sisi    1st phase of Sharm El-Sheikh museum construction works completed: Antiquities Ministry    A Sphinx statue uncovered in Minya's Tuna El-Gebel    Uber launches appeal to regain London taxi license after suspension    Ahly inks Egypt's forward Kahraba on four-and-a-half year deal    Google reveals Egypt's top internet searches list for 2019    Helwan University holds conference on African studies    Rain, cold temperatures expected ahead in Cairo    BREAKING: Algeria declares former PM Tebboune winner of presidential election    Protesters hang gunman in Baghdad square: Officials    Hundreds protest in central Algiers against disputed election    Egyptian Weightlifting Federation's officials referred to prosecution over doping crisis – ministry    Apple's CEO spotted sampling Singapore's foods in neighborhood market    Mohamed Salah the most mentioned football player in Egypt on Twitter    Here is the full list of Golden Globes 2020 nominations    Even being big, burly one needs his mother    Adam Sandler threatens to make ‘so bad' movie if he doesn't win Oscar    Egypt's Tahrir Square among top Reuters photos of a decade    Egypt names 16 new governors ahead of anticipated Cabinet reshuffle    Egypt's MPs back potential return of information minister post in expected reshuffle    Court sentences six to death, 41 to lifetime imprisonment violence related case    Trump says he would release Mideast peace plan after Israeli elections    ACWA Power compares 3 bids to supply production units for Luxor power station    What do you know about gold alloying?    NBE announces EGP 2.5m prizes for handball youth teams for their world achievements    Jennifer Lopez evokes Egyptian outrage post her North Coast performance    Al-Sisi honours Egypt's scholars on Science Day    IS claims responsibility for suicide bombing killing 63 in Afghan wedding    Political parties gear up for parliamentary, senate, local elections    Unprecedented Glory: Egypt win Men's U-19 World Handball Championship    12th National Egyptian Theatre Festival fuel up public theatre art scene    Ministry of Environment has a plan for "black clouds season"    







Thank you for reporting!
This image will be automatically disabled when it gets reported by several people.





Trump administration eyes disaster money to fund border wall
Published in Ahram Online on 11 - 01 - 2019

The Trump administration is considering using billions in unspent disaster relief funds earmarked for areas including hurricane-pounded Puerto Rico and Texas and more than a dozen other states to pay for President Donald Trump's border wall as he weighs signing a national emergency declaration to get it built without Congress.
The White House has directed the Army Corps of Engineers to comb through its budget, including $13.9 billion in emergency funds that Congress earmarked last year, to see what money could be diverted to the wall as part of a declaration. That's according to a congressional aide and administration official familiar with the matter who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.
It is the latest sign that the administration is laying the groundwork for a possible emergency order as negotiations between Trump and congressional Democrats to reopen the partially shuttered government have ground to a halt. Trump is demanding billions for his wall that Democrats won't give him. In the meantime, hundreds of thousands of federal workers are set to miss paychecks Friday.
Trump on Thursday gave his strongest public indication yet that he is leaning toward an emergency declaration as he traveled to the Texas border to continue to press his case for the wall.
Trump told reporters as he left the White House that he was still holding out hope for a deal, but that if it “doesn't work out, probably I will do it. I would almost say definitely.”
Todd Semonite, commanding general of the Army Corps of Engineers, was traveling with Trump on Thursday. The Army Corps of Engineers directed questions to the Pentagon, which directed questions to Congress.
Nearly $14 billion in emergency disaster relief funds have been allocated but not yet obligated through contracts for a variety of projects in states including California, Florida and Texas and in the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico that have been ravaged by recent hurricanes, wildfires and other natural disasters, according to the aide familiar with the matter.
The money funds a variety of projects, mostly flood control to prevent future disasters.
A second official with knowledge of the proposal said it would fund construction of about 315 miles (500 kilometers) of border barrier. Right now, barriers blanket about one-third of the 1,954-mile (3,145-kilometer) border with Mexico.
Defense Department officials had already been combing data on more than $10 billion in military construction projects to determine how much of it would be available for emergency spending this year.
Officials have estimated that roughly one-quarter to one-third of the money, or $2.5 billion to $3 billion, could be available — less than the $5.7 billion Trump is seeking. The majority has also already been obligated — meaning that it has been spent or a contract has been signed and there would be penalties for cancellation.
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. Critics have said the move would be an unconstitutional abuse of emergency powers. Trump said Thursday that his lawyers have told him he has the “absolute right.”
Republican and Democratic lawmakers raised immediate concerns over shifting funds that have already been approved by Congress for projects in states across the nation.
Rep. Mike Simpson of Idaho, a top Republican on the Appropriations Committee, said he has been hearing from lawmakers in recent days concerned that Army Corps projects in their states could be canceled or postponed.
“If they drag the money out of here,” Simpson said in an interview late Thursday, “a lot of members will have problem with it.”
Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., the incoming chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, said in an interview that rebuilding the disaster areas is “a way higher priority benefiting the American people than a wasteful wall.”
He said the Army Corps works on dams, levees and other projects across the nation and has an enormous backlog of unfunded needs. “It would be an incredible disservice to the American people and the economy” to divert the money to the border wall, he said.
And Rep. Nydia Velazquez, D-N.Y., said in a statement that it would be “beyond appalling for the president to take money from places like Puerto Rico that have suffered enormous catastrophes, costing thousands of American citizens' lives, in order to pay for Donald Trump's foolish, offensive and hateful wall.”
“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,” she said.


Clic here to read the story from its source.