Economy

Trump administration eyes raiding hurricane relief funds to build border wall

Trump administration eyes raiding hurricane relief funds to build border wall

- The White House has directed the Army Corps of Engineers to look at using emergency funds that Congress approved for disaster relief to build a border wall with Mexico.

Lawmakers tried to reassure federal employees that Congress was aware of the financial hardship they are enduring.

Trump traveled to the southern border in Texas on Thursday to highlight his push for a border wall.

A last-ditch, long-shot effort to broker compromise in the Senate also appeared to stall out on Thursday.

Senators passed a bill Thursday to ensure all federal employees, whether they are still working or were furloughed, will be paid in full when the partial government shutdown ends.

"Mitch is not going to put anything on the floor the president isn't going to sign", he said, referring to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.

However, this is contradicted by an archived campaign memo from 2016, where Mr Trump outlined how he planned to "compel Mexico to make a one-time payment" of $5-10bn for the wall.

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President Trump is considering declaring a national emergency over his proposed border wall, but some Republicans are fearful over what a future Democratic president could do with that power.

The president, without proof, has previously said most federal workers are Democrats and that the party should feel pressure to get the government reopened. "Do you take an oath to the Constitution, or do you take an oath to President Trump?" That's according to a congressional aide familiar with the matter who was not authorized to speak publicly.

Defense Department officials had already been poring over data on more than $10 billion in military construction projects to determine how much of it would be available for emergency spending this year.

Rep. Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., the incoming chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, said in an interview that rebuilding the disaster areas is "a way higher priority benefiting the American people than a wasteful wall".

Vice President Mike Pence visited the Washington headquarters for US Customs and Border Protection and pledged that the administration will keep fighting for the border wall.

The president has blamed the shutdown on Democrats, and Democrats have blamed the president.

President Donald Trump said Friday that he does not intend to declare a national emergency "so fast", despite his evident recent delight in threatening to do so.