The Defense Department is preparing to act on POTUS Donald Trump’s declaration of a national emergency along the U.S. southwestern border should he decide to go that route, according to a report Thursday.
USA Today noted that is the latest sign that the president is leaning towards a declaration, though it could also be that the military is simply being proactive in planning for any contingency, which is what the military does.
“The Department of Defense is reviewing available authorities and funding mechanisms to identify options to enable border barrier construction,” Navy Capt. Bill Speaks, a Pentagon spokesman, said, the paper reported in online editions. “As there has not been such a declaration made, it would be inappropriate to comment further on those efforts.”
Speaks’ comment comes as the president gave is most forceful warning yet earlier in the day that he’s considering an emergency declaration as recalcitrant congressional Democrats continue to refuse to provide him with about $5.7 billion he has requested for border wall construction.
The longer the Democrats refuse, the longer furloughed federal workers from shuttered agencies that are out of funds remain without paychecks — an issue they are trying to saddle the president with despite the fact that spending bills must originate in Congress and the House specifically, not the Executive Branch.
Talks with Democrats at the White House broke down — again — Wednesday after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she would refuse to include border wall funds in any new spending bills aimed at reopening government agencies affected by the shutdown.
The president departed that meeting tweeting it had been a “waste of time.”
“If this doesn’t work out, probably I will do it – I would almost say definitely,” POTUS Trump said earlier Thursday. “We have plenty of funds if there’s a national emergency.”
Meanwhile, Vice President Mike Pence told reporters on Capitol Hill Thursday afternoon that the president is determined to build a wall on the border.
“The president believes he has an absolute right to declare a national emergency,” Pence said. “The president is going to get this done one way or the other.” — Jon Dougherty
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