by James Buchanan
In a surprise development, multiple sources including Congressman Mo Brooks are reporting that there is existing U.S. law that will allow Trump to build a border wall without needing to pass a new law and without needing to declare a state of emergency!
An article in the Washington Examiner reports “President Trump can move on his own without declaring a national emergency, according to a nonpartisan congressional report.”
“The Congressional Research Service, Capitol Hill’s think tank, is highlighting laws for Trump to tap that would not be subject to Congress’ ‘termination provison.'”
“…One allows the Pentagon to fund a construction project not previously approved by Congress if national security is at stake. Another lets the Pentagon work with civilian authorities to fight drugs.”
“Those provisions from the CRS report cited by Banzhaf:”
“10 U.S.C. § 2803 (Section 2803) provides that the secretary of Defense ‘may carry out a military construction project not otherwise authorized by law’ upon determining that (1) ‘the project is vital to the national security or to the protection of health, safety, or the quality of the environment,’ and (2) ‘the requirement for the project is so urgent that’ deferring the project ‘would be inconsistent with national security or the protection of health, safety, or environmental quality.”
“10 U.S.C. § 284 (Section 284) provides that the secretary of Defense ‘may provide support for the counterdrug activities or activities to counter transnational organized crime’ of any law enforcement agency, including through the ‘[c]onstruction of roads and fences and installation of lighting to block drug smuggling corridors across international boundaries of the United States.’ Use of Section 284 Would not require a declaration of a national emergency under the NEA.”
“Congressional officials have also looked into the alternative provisions and believe spending caps would kick in at about $1 billion…”
“Both Banzhaf and CRS said that Trump would likely face legal challenges if he tapped the provisions.”
It’s not clear if each law could access a billion dollars in funding. If so, that would be an additional two billion dollars per year for the wall.
Trump already received $1.6 billion for wall funding a year ago, and if no budget deal can be made with Congress, that means another $1.6 billion will automatically go for the border wall as a default.
That means Trump may have access to $3.6 billion in wall funding this year and following years without declaring an emergency or having to make an Amnesty deal with the Democrats. Any kind of Amnesty deal really begs the question: Why bother building a wall if you’re going to let the illegals in anyway?
Perhaps, this discovery of ways to fund the wall by using existing law is the real reason why Trump called off the government shutdown. Trump wants to announce in the State of the Union address that he’s going ahead with the wall, and there’s nothing the Democrats can do to stop him.