Trump's Plan B: Make WALL From California's Ashes, Tears Of Puerto Ricans
It's starting to look like Donald Trump may decide to sign off on the bipartisan government funding compromise reached earlier this week -- assuming "Fox & Friends" doesn't convince him Thursday morning that the bill would actually make "La Cucaracha" the new national anthem. Of course, that budget deal only provides a portion of the border security funds Trump had demanded -- and even that's a bit less than was included in the December budget resolution Trump shut the government down over. Trump has also been told by top Republicans that they're not keen on the idea of his declaring a "national emergy" in order to shift military funds around (not that he'd necessarily care), but the White House is now planning a fallback option to shift various already-approved funding around to build some WALL without an emergy declaration at all.
Not surprisingly, it is a dumb, possibly illegal plan, too.
Politico has a nice look at the basics of how some in the White House think Trump could redirect existing government funds to build additional WALL with only an executive order, not an actual attempt to use presidential emergency powers. Mind you, a lot of Trumpers still think the emergency powers are just fine and dandy and totally legal too, because they believe presidents are, like Friendship, actually magic. Trump's budget director / acting chief of staff / acting head butler and toenail clipper Mick Mulvaney is a believer:
"There are certain sums of money that are available to the president, to any president," Mulvaney said on "Meet the Press" Sunday. "So you comb through the law at the president's request ... And there's pots of money where presidents, all presidents, have access to without a national emergency."
These special funds that any president can dip into whenever they want were actually hidden in several obscure laws by congressional leprechauns, and a smart executive branch simply needs to follow the trail of magical loophole dust to find them. Armed with a magic feather from a hat once worn by Pat Nixon, wonks in the White House Counsel's office have discovered two laws they insist would let Donald Trump make WALL, just as long as he says the magic incantation "national security" while wishing real hard:
One, 10 USC Section 2808, authorizes military construction projects that support the use of the armed forces. Those are typically things like barracks, helipads and other military fortifications. The other, 33 USC Section 2293, allows the Secretary of the Army to redirect funds from the Army's civil works program for projects including "authorized civil works." White House lawyers, however, expect to be challenged about whether the wall truly supports the armed forces or is an authorized civil work.
Gee, you think? But WALL is all-important to keeping us safe, so obviously that makes it a military project. All Trump has to do is point out one more time "You can't have a country without borders," then sacrifice a few more Guatemalan children, and the ritual will be complete.
Now, where would that Magical Border Pot come from, specifically? Just a lot of stuff nobody important cares about:
The emerging consensus among acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and top budget officials is to shift money from two Army Corps of Engineers' flood control projects in Northern California, as well as from disaster relief funds intended for California and Puerto Rico. The plan will also tap unspent Department of Defense funds for military construction, like family housing or infrastructure for military bases, according to three sources familiar with the negotiations.
Can't see any problems there, since California and Puerto Rico will never vote for Trump, and in fact Puerto Ricans can't vote for president at all, so this decision is a snap.
Politico also reports that some in the White House, including people "aligned with senior adviser Stephen Miller," have been arguing that trying to shift funds around without an emergency declaration might actually be more likely to generate lawsuits. Reassuring to see the Immigration Obersturmbannführer stake out the extreme position and insist it's far more cool and far more legal.
For all the doofuses who think shifting disaster funding around would be easy-peasy to do, especially since, pfft, it would only affect people in Democrat places, there are plenty of folks who just might object and sue over either approach, and that could get in the way of funding. Trump, for now, is keeping his options open, including sending stupid tweets insisting he can do what he wants because some other Republican says he can:
Also worth noting: those pushing plans to reshuffle already allocated funds -- emergency or otherwise -- aren't being especially subtle about where they will and won't borrow funding, says Politico. Both of Texas's senators, Ted Cruz and John Cornyn, have gone on record that they'll fight any attempt to repurpose any funds for Hurricane Harvey relief. Isn't that sweet of them?
As for moving around funding for housing military families, Trump may want to rethink that, too, since Congress will be holding hearings today on the scandalous toxic mold and overall slumminess of privatized military housing. If anyone notices.
While Politico looks at several strategies Trumpworld may use to bump up funding for WALL, the piece fails to note the most obvious plan: Trump just might declare WALL already built and move on to something else. Like maybe MOAT.
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Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.