San Juan, Puerto Rico — Going through stiff resistance from congressional Democrats in negotiations to reopen the federal government, the White Home is exploring different methods to fund President Trump’s proposed wall alongside the U.S.-Mexico border. A congressional aide informed CBS Information one possibility being mentioned would divert federal funds meant to assist Puerto Rico and several other states hit by pure disasters.
That may comply with the declaration of a nationwide emergency to reopen shuttered elements of the federal government.
The White Home has directed the U.S. Military Corps of Engineers to look at the opportunity of utilizing for border wall development $13.9 billion the corps obtained in a February 2018 catastrophe reduction invoice, the aide stated. The cash was earmarked for reduction measures for Puerto Rico and California, Florida, Texas and different hard-hit states.
One other congressional aide raised issues that reallocating the cash would possibly violate federal legislation.
It will additionally ignite a backlash amongst lawmakers who fought to safe the funds for infrastructure and restore initiatives again residence.
The diversion plan is being introduced as an choice to the president and is probably not applied.
Puerto Rico remains to be recovering from devastating hurricanes and dealing with financial turmoil and. (FEMA) spokesperson informed CBS Information earlier within the week that the extended partial authorities shutdown hasn’t affected FEMA’s post-Hurricane Maria work. However the proposal being thought-about by the White Home might have an effect on the funding of reduction efforts on the still-struggling island.
Puerto Rico’s Resident Commissioner and non-voting member of the U.S. Home of Representatives, Jenniffer González, a Republican, denounced the proposal. “Whereas the President has broad army authorities because the Commander-in-Chief on the subject of declaring a nationwide emergency, I can not and won’t help reallocating funding we permitted in a bipartisan effort in Congress for the restoration and reconstruction of Puerto Rico,” she stated in an announcement.
A spokesperson for the governor’s workplace did not reply to CBS Information’ requests for remark.
A number of congressional Democrats additionally seized on the revelation to proceed their criticism of the Trump administration’s dealing with of restoration efforts in Puerto Rico within the aftermath of hurricanes Maria and Irma.
“I want I might say that is unbelievable, however that is sadly in line with Donald Trump’s disregard for #PuertoRico and for #Latinos. Stealing from the restoration effort to fund the wall is past reprehensible. As an Appropriator, I will do all the things in my energy to cease it,” Congressman Jose Serrano, D-New York, wrote on Twitter.
Rebecca Kaplan, Ed O’Keefe and David Martin contributed to this report.