Trump Thinks Disaster Relief Can Fund the Border Wall

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Efrén Olivares of the Texas Civil Rights Project said Trump was stoking racism, xenophobia and fears about a crime epidemic that doesn't exist.

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. In the meantime, hundreds of thousands of federal workers are set to miss paychecks Friday.

While scientists warn that the climate crisis will continue to cause increasingly damaging weather events and disasters in USA communities, President Donald Trump made clear Friday his focus on a separate, invented "crisis" as he ordered officials to consider redirecting billions of dollars in disaster relief funds to pay for a wall at the southern US border.

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The White House has directed the Army Corps of Engineers to comb through its budget in search of money for the wall, including looking at $13.9 billion in unspent disaster relief funds earmarked for areas including hurricane-damaged Puerto Rico, Texas and more than a dozen other states.

"But the easy route for me would be to call a national emergency and do it", he added. Marco Rubio (R-Fl.) telling CNBC, "If today, the national emergency is border security. tomorrow the national emergency might be climate change".

Democrats, led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., have vowed to block any sort of funding for the wall, accusing the president of having "manufactured" a crisis at the border. The White House has directed the Corps to review its budget, including $13.9 billion in emergency funds earmarked previous year by Congress, to see what money could be diverted to building a wall.

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Trump's visit was met by protesters who rallied on both sides of the border-in Reynosa, Mexico, and in McAllen, Texas. Critics have said the move would be an unconstitutional abuse of emergency powers.

Rep. Patrick McHenry of North Carolina, the top Republican on the Financial Services Committee, said Wednesday's vote was "a political stunt", as the House had already passed a single appropriations package seeking to open all of the departments of the government.

Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has made clear that he won't take up any legislation related to the shutdown in the Senate that President Donald Trump won't sign.

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"If and when the president does that you'll find out how we will react", Pelosi said.

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