With President Donald Trump’s veto of a congressional decision to scuttle emergency funding for the president’s promised wall alongside the border with Mexico, the main target now turns to the query of the place the White House will get the funds.
Because congress has not appropriated enough cash for Trump to erect the wall, the emergency declaration can solely take funds from current army building tasks. However, the White House has not but specified which tasks would see their budgets lower to pay for the wall.
Last week, appearing Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan appeared earlier than the Senate Armed Services Committee and declined senators’ request for a listing of affected army tasks.
Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia was one of many lawmakers to press Shanahan on the problem. Appearing Sunday morning on CBS’ Face the Nation, Kaine accused the Trump administration of intentionally holding this data again.
“If you’re going to ransack the Pentagon’s budget, tell me which projects cut, or delay, or eliminate,” mentioned Kaine, quoting an earlier letter he had despatched to the Trump administration. “They wouldn’t provide an answer.”
Kaine famous that on the listening to Shanahan promised to ship a listing of affected tasks, however solely after senators voted on the decision to disapprove of the emergency declaration. Did the Department of Defense ever ship that listing? No, says the senator from Virginia.
“To add insult to injury, they had to walk that back, they don’t even want to give us the list at all,” mentioned Kaine, theorizing that the White House would not need lawmakers to see the listing till after each chambers of congress have taken a vote on probably overriding Trump’s veto.
“This is the White House wanting to hold the list back because they worry that if senators and House members saw the potential projects that were going to be ransacked to pay for the president’s wall, they would lose votes,” mentioned Kaine. “And I think they’re going to try to hide the list until that veto until that veto override vote occurs.”
Appearing individually on the identical program, appearing White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney mentioned it “could be a while” till the listing of tasks is launched.
“We’ve already told congress… none of the programs that were scheduled to be started or what we call obligated in 2019 — so between now and the end of September — will be impacted at all.”
Host Margaret Brennan identified that Shanahan had informed lawmakers that the DOD had the listing of tasks, however that it simply hasn’t been handed over.
“I know of no list,” claimed Mulvaney, “and if anyone ought to know it will be me. There’s no listing which are completely not going to be funded in order that the wall might be. What it’s is a listing of packages that match the factors that I simply laid out for you, which is that they’re meant to be funded past the top of this fiscal 12 months.
“If it is a venture that was going to be funded in 2021, it offers us one other couple of years to what we name backfill,” he continued. “Congress will move one other appropriation this 12 months, subsequent 12 months, in order that finally not one of the packages could be impacted.”
While it seems that neither the Democratic-controlled House nor the GOP-controlled Senate have the enough two-thirds vote to override the president’s veto, various Republicans in each chambers did solid votes opposing Trump’s emergency declaration.
Many of the Republicans who voted in favor of the decision pointed to considerations in regards to the affect it will have on constitutionally mandated separation of powers, probably establishing a precedent whereby a president might fund any unpopular venture by declaring an emergency. However, others, together with Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, raised questions in regards to the White House pulling much-needed funding from army tasks to pay for a border wall that could possibly be funded by means of different means.
President Donald Trump speaks throughout an occasion on border safety within the Oval Office of the White House on March 15 in Washington, D.C. Alex Wong/Getty Images