Friday, January 11, 2019

Shutdown Meltdown, Con't

With Mitch McConnell adjourning the Senate for the weekend and refusing to allow any votes on House Democratic bills to reopen the government, this will now be the longest government shutdown in US history, and there doesn't seem to be any way out.  Exasperated Senate Republicans are starting to give in to Trump's emergency declaration scheme.

South Carolina GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham issued a statement Thursday calling for President Donald Trump to invoke national emergency powers to fund his border wall. 
"Speaker (Nancy) Pelosi's refusal to negotiate on funding for a border wall/barrier -- even if the government were to be reopened -- virtually ends the congressional path to funding for a border wall/barrier," Graham said in a statement. "It is time for President Trump to use emergency powers to fund the construction of a border wall/barrier." 
The statement from the key Trump ally came shortly after Graham said efforts to forge a deal with congressional Democrats had fallen flat. 
GOP senators gathered in Graham's office a day prior to discuss a deal that would bring an end to the ongoing government shutdown while securing money for Trump's proposed border with Mexico.

Trump killed that plan, and if anything, all indications are that his national emergency stupidity is going to happen, and soon.

President Donald Trump has been briefed on a plan that would use the Army Corps of Engineers and a portion of $13.9 billion of Army Corps funding to build 315 miles of barrier along the U.S.-Mexico border
, according to three U.S. officials familiar with the briefing.

The money was set aside to fund projects all over the country including storm-damaged areas of Puerto Rico through fiscal year 2020, but the checks have not been written yet and, under an emergency declaration, the president could take the money from these civil works projects and use it to build the border wall, said officials familiar with the briefing and two congressional sources.

The plan could be implemented if Trump declares a national emergency in order to build the wall and would use more money and build more miles than the administration has requested from Congress. The president had requested $5.7 billion for a wall stretching 234 miles.

Under the proposal, the officials said, Trump could dip into the $2.4 billion allocated to projects in California, including flood prevention and protection projects along the Yuba River Basin and the Folsom Dam, as well as the $2.5 billion set aside for reconstruction projects in Puerto Rico, which is still recovering from Hurricane Maria.

Taking money from California and Puerto Rico disaster reconstruction to build a section of the wall and declare victory seems like the most Trumpian plan ever.  After all, his supporters are furious that the shutdown isn't "hurting the people he needs to be hurting."  By pulling disaster relief money from those people he can accomplish both.

Expect this to happen soon, if not imminently.

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