Jan 11, 2019, 4:42 PM ET

House GOP urges Trump not to redirect disaster relief money to fund border wall

#

Ahead of a potential announcement by President Donald Trump to declare a national emergency and reallocate billions of dollars to pay for a border wall, House Republicans representing congressional districts that are still recovering from hurricanes say they’re opposed to the plan.

“Our district is still recovering from Hurricane Harvey,” Rep. Brian Babin, R-Texas, told ABC News. “I hope that they can get those [funds] from somewhere else.”

Rep. Buddy Carter said that there’s “no question” Georgians are still recovering from Hurricane Michael, and urged the president not to redirect any disaster relief money from the Peach State to cover the border wall.

“As a result of Hurricane Michael, in southwest Georgia in particular, we’ve had devastating impact on our crops and in order for the farmers to recover and to start planning for the next cycle, then they need that disaster relief as soon as possible,” Carter, R-Georgia, said. “There’s a need for disaster relief. No question about it.”

PHOTO: A construction crew works on replacing the U.S.-Mexico border fence near Tijuana, Mexico, Jan. 9, 2019.Guillermo Arias/AFP/Getty Images
A construction crew works on replacing the U.S.-Mexico border fence near Tijuana, Mexico, Jan. 9, 2019.

Another Texas Republican, Rep. Roger Williams, defended the House’s constitutional power of the purse and urged congressional leaders to negotiate an agreement with the president.

“I’m not for that idea right now. I’m for getting back to negotiations,” Williams said. “I think Congress should have a hand in it. I represent Fort Hood, the largest military base in the country, and we’re doing a lot of great things down there with our motor pools, with our runways, with our barracks that sorely need to be done to, you know, create an environment for our soldiers. So I don’t want any money taken from there. We’ve got a lot of momentum going there, so I would hope that we could negotiate this thing.”

Rep. John Rutherford, R-Florida, said it “remains to be seen” whether Trump has the authority to fund the wall without congressional approval, but he is also “very supportive of getting that wall built.”

Carter also agreed there is “some question” as to whether Trump has the power to reprogram disaster relief to pay for the border wall.

“I hope it doesn’t come to that,” Carter said. “I hope that we can get this worked out and that we can fulfill our obligation and that is to secure our borders.”

PHOTO: The U.S.-Mexico border wall along the border near Tijuana, Mexico, Jan. 7, 2019.Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images, FILE
The U.S.-Mexico border wall along the border near Tijuana, Mexico, Jan. 7, 2019.

While he’d like Trump to pursue alternate funding options, Babin – who is refusing his congressional salary until the government reopens – stressed that the president is “doing the right thing” by refusing to reopen government over his $5.7 billion demand.

“I’ll tell you, we need to have border security. That is something else that is pressing hard on the state of Texas right now,” he said. “It is a crisis beyond most people’s imaginations and we’ve got to have some relief there.”

Williams, who served as secretary of state of Texas prior to his election to Congress, said that border patrol has told him that they need a physical barrier at the border to control illegal immigration.

“We have a real, real problem, okay?” Williams said. “They need some sort of barrier to improve what’s going on.”

“I’m total[ly] for border security. It’s a real thing. If you live in Texas, you get it. We want people to realize the American dream, but they need to do it legally,” Williams continued. “A lot of things can happen there, but I totally support the president on border security.”

Carter said he’s visited the southern border and believes a solution will require additional border security measures beyond a physical barrier.

“It’s going to take more than just the wall, more than just a fence,” Carter said. “A fence works perfect in some areas, such as San Diego, but in other areas like Arizona, you need boots on the ground, you need technology. You need blimps, drones. All those types of things.”

Over in the Senate, Alaska Republican Lisa Murkowski is worried.

At first, the senator said she was just trying to find a way out of the government shutdown, working with colleagues to find some common ground. But then – as it became clear that President Trump was serious about possibly doing an end-run around Congress and declaring a national emergency to get his border wall built – she sounded the alarm.

“I would worry," she said. "I would worry greatly if the president were to exercise this for his political priority.”

The money for the wall could possibly be drawn from the Army Corps of Engineer's Long Term Disaster Recovery Investment Plan Construction Account, which totals about $13.9 billion and is comprised from more than 50 projects – mainly from Puerto Rico, as well as Texas, Florida, California – and to a lesser degree projects in Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Kentucky, Louisiana, New Mexico, South Carolina, Tennessee, and West Virginia.

The White House has specifically asked the Army Corps of Engineers to examine what funds could be redirected to the border wall from an emergency supplemental that passed in February 2018.

One U.S. official said the money could be used to build as much as 315 miles of border wall under the direction of the Army Corps of Engineers.

ABC News’ Elizabeth McLaughlin contributed to this report.

News - House GOP urges Trump not to redirect disaster relief money to fund border wall

RRelated Posts

CComments

  • OneMoreYes33a

    Disaster relief?? It just takes a couple of rolls of paper towels. Right? And don't forget to rake the forests.

  • Educated

    Looks like some Trump supporters will be directly affected again by this bafoon in the WH. I wonder if they'll still support him?

  • OneMoreYes33a

    Hmm. It's the old - make someone else pay for it! But no matter where you go IT'S OUR MONEY! 75% of the country doesn't want the wall. Any idiot can see there is no crisis at the southern border.

  • ReviewTheFacts

    The Republicans know the next time there's a natural disaster like tornadoes, flooding, or other disasters, that the money won't be there if Trump uses it to build a border wall. They also know Trump's abuse of power will be challenged in the courts, and that Democrats will have a much better chance in the next elections.

    Trump demands that Democrats put up money to build a wall. He doesn't understand that Democrats listen to the people they're representing, and those people know a wall won't stop people from getting to the US. Most illegal immigrants fly in with a valid visa, and overstay their visa. Most illegal drugs are smuggled in in other products through legal ports of entry.

    Want to stop people from crossing the border illegally? Put a system in place where they have legal channels to emigrate that doesn't make them languish in tax-paid migrant prisons for years, where there are enough judges to process the existing 1 million (thats MILLION, folks) cases that are pending. No wall will do that.

  • ctla567

    Trump would be dead meat if he uses disaster fund for wall building. It is already too bad that he even suggested the idea. Shame on him. The gentleman who started the gofundme money for the wall but got only a little more than $20 million and promised to return the donations. That says a lot about Trump's base who wanted the wall built. Trump alone can easily donate more than $20 million. How about the NRA, Fox news and the wealthy radio talk show hosts and hostesses plus millions of his voters and his wealthy family members. Apparently they are all big mouths but do nothing other than trying to benefit from the shutdown.

  • KJK

    The feckless, ignorant, GOP in Congress, House and Senate, are showing why they will soon become a party of the past. They had two years to create a funding bill for border security, which included a border wall, and they collectively sat on their very large rear ends. Trump is crude, his personality stinks, etc. etc. and he has not proven to be the party leader needed, but the Senate rules have prohibited him from his fulfillment of his main campaign promise. The Senate rule of 60 votes could not be overcome, with the Dem party acting in lock step, and because of Rinos like McCain. What pisses me off, is that Congress cannot continue to function, or disfunction, and blame Trump entirely for this issue. Unless something is done to stop everyone's child like behavior, I truly think the Country will go down the tubes. First our credit rating will go down, increasing our deficits over the horrendous levels they are not at. The increased interest payments on the debt will drive the country to need increased taxes, with the calamity that will result. We will turn into a banana republic, with the Military taking over. The great US democracy experiment will be done for.

  • Nala

    its called misappropriation of funds and IS highly illegal ! ! ! ! go ahead donnie and screw yourself yet again

  • drathvedar

    Divert money from disaster relief to build a wall? A next-to-impossible, unneeded, and not thought out wall? He should be impeached just for considering this.

  • kritikosman

    He (trump) should be urged to quit!

  • SittinOnTheBeach

    Congress should take a few negotiators from each side of the aisle, put them in a room for a solid week and have them work out the border security issue. Take it out of Dumpy's small hands.

  • SJC

    If he takes disaster money Congress will have to fund that,
    which it the kind of dishonest business tRump does.

  • dynamited88

    House republicans -- irrelevant and impotent. Mark Meadows, go suck an egg.

  • madison55

    I would like to know if the GOP knows how to add and subtract. If you subtract money from the fema, then of course add it to the wall, what happens if there is a disaster. This is just a disaster.

  • Ctrygrl

    Are these house republicans willing to help override a veto? Then they ought to let the senate know. Because I think the senate would do it. That puts the ball squarely in McConnell's court.

  • Prophet With Honor

    Beyond tunnel vision, he is totally blind to what this country needs.

  • mollydtt

    The GOP created this dense, dangerous Trump. Too late.

  • kobrakai6868

    Quote from Brian Babin from the article: “I’ll tell you, we need to have border security. That is something else that is pressing hard on the state of Texas right now. It is a crisis beyond most people’s imaginations and we’ve got to have some relief there.”

    And the Golden Globe for the most vague, non-specific, fact-free defense of the need for a wall by a Congressman who didn’t want to be quoted on the record as saying a silly and bold-faced lie goes to....

  • Nick

    He knows he's about to be impeached, so he's burning it all to the ground before he's forced out.

  • TexasVulcan

    Sounds like some GOP are coming around, but the very fact that they mostly still support Trump's idea of a "sea-to-sea" wall is absurd. No one really believes that is what is needed.

  • Lawrence Geary

    "The GOP asks trump to not redirect hurricane relief money"???? Did they add" your most high lord and excellency-and did they offer to go around behind him and kiss him thoroughly until he said they could stop? GOP is a subversive organization. I have disowned any family or friends that participate in being subversive.

  • mikevietvet68/69

    you can tell politicians are a low form of life just by the way cruz is standing behind his emperor,they have no shame and cruz shows it.

  • Elaine Hernandez

    GOP could stop this anytime. I pay taxes to fund the good of many, not some stupid tribute to a crazy, rich fool. Do your jobs GOP!

  • Mike Kennedy

    Trump is screwing up our country big time, and there is nothing great about it. Whether it is by incompetence or deliberate action to sabotage our nation, he needs to go. He is unfit to serve as president.

  • SJC

    The House has the power over revenue and expenditures...PERIOD!
    Why didn't the Republican Congress fund the wall before this?

  • DCClark

    If Trump wasn't born into a real estate empire he would be running numbers and small time scams out of his Trump Gold and Silver Pawn shop..in Queens

  • Rick

    In 2016, DHS says over 11,000,000 flew in on various VISA's. Yearly, DHS estimates that 9% dont go back. A Wall is worthless, fix the VISA system. In 2016, DHS says there were 80,000 Saudis here on school VISA's. Dont ever forget that the 9/11 attackers were here legally on VISA's.

  • Grrrrrr

    Trump met with border patrol agents while he was in Tx. One of them explained to him that even with a wall, tunnels were being utilized.

    Trump is just not that bright... "Medieval Remedies! Like the wheel!" HAHAHAHAHAHA!!

  • Bluejay

    "If you don't give me MY wall, it's a national emergency, for the simple reason that my base will turn on me, and I'll stand no chance in 2020"

    -djt

  • Colinalcarz

    Other than PR, were there any blue states on that list? As if conservatives weren’t conflicted enough over this president.

  • AngeredVoter

    What a surprise, tax-cut and spend Republicans showing their true colors.

  • SATX0227

    If not having the wall is a national emergency, why hasn't POTUS proclaimed a national emergency? Gee, what is he waiting for? Now republicans are lining up to say they are not in favor of diverting funds earmarked for legitimate natural disasters. We'll see what they say when the real president (Fox News) call them out for obstructing the wishes of their great leader. The emperor truly has no clothes.

  • Rick

    Trump dont broadcast the estimate of $25Million per mile to build his Great Wall of Trump......