Congress — including ailing GOP Senator John McCain — shall return in full force after Labor Day. They’ll soon tackle a number of yuge agendas that President Trump wants passed (after he mean-girled Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell), and that includes Trump’s fabled Great Wall along the southern U.S. border. Since Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto has stood firm on his refusal to fund the thing, it’s up to Congress to make it happen. And they intend to do so at great expense to taxpayers, even if that means cutting disaster program funds while Tropical Storm Harvey continues to work an unfathomable amount of damage upon Texas and Louisiana.
This news comes courtesy of the Associated Press, which makes note of how the president pledged billions in relief while visiting with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (and planning for mutual future congratulations). Yet it sure sounds like some Ted Cruz-styled hypocrisy is about to go down within the GOP, which wants to slash $1 billion in disaster relief to build that wall:
The pending reduction to the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s disaster relief account is part of a spending bill that the House is scheduled to consider next week when Congress returns from its August recess. The $876 million cut, part of the 1,305-page measure’s homeland security section, pays for roughly half the cost of Trump’s down payment on a U.S.-Mexico border wall.
It seems sure that GOP leaders will move to reverse the disaster aid cut next week. The optics are politically bad and there’s only $2.3 billion remaining in disaster coffers.
If the GOP proceeds as anticipated and makes that $1 billion cut, this will significantly cripple the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which will already be stretched past capacity by Harvey damage. FEMA head Brock Long said that his agency is committed to “years” of recovery efforts in Texas and Louisiana, but if the funds disappear, they can’t possibly get the job done. Plus, hurricane season isn’t even close to over yet, and other massive storms may be in the cards for the coming weeks.
Plenty of charities are assisting in current efforts, but they can’t carry that ball forever. On Tuesday, President Trump toured some Harvey damage and declared, “Never been something so expensive in our country’s history.” And yet, his Wall may be more important to Congress.
(Via Associated Press)