Republican Senator Graham: Trump Should Use Emergency Powers to Fund Wall

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais/File)

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said on Thursday that President Donald Trump should declare a national emergency and bypass Congress to fund a wall on the U.S. border with Mexico.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s “refusal to negotiate on funding for a border wall/barrier – even if the government were to be reopened – virtually ends the congressional path to funding for a border wall/barrier,” Graham said in a statement.

“It is time for President Trump to use emergency powers to fund the construction of a border wall/barrier,” he said.

In a related story, according to a congressional aide familiar with the matter who was not authorized to speak publicly, 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.

The aide said the $13.9 billion has been allocated but not yet obligated through contracts for a variety of projects in California, Florida, Texas, other states and Puerto Rico, which have experienced hurricanes, wildfires or other natural disasters. The money funds a variety of projects, mostly flood control to prevent future disasters.

Updated Thursday, January 10, 2019 at 7:14 pm Adds plans to use disaster funds to build wall.