White House officials broke down Friday where national emergency funds will be pulled from to build the steel bollard fencing at the southern border.
Officials said they promised Democrats several months ago they would stick to the bollard fencing, not a concrete wall.
Officials asserted that President Donald Trump’s declaration of a national emergency at the southern border will not create a new precedent for Democrats to declare a gun emergency in the future.
“With the declaration of a national emergency the president will have access to approximately 8 billion dollars,” said Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney. He pointed to the inability of congress to provide the funds the president called for.
The $8 billion includes the $1.375 billion in appropriations included in the congressional funding bill, $600 million from the Treasury forfeiture fund, $2.5 billion from Title 10 section 264 counter drug activities, and $3.6 billion from military section 2808 military construction funds. These are approximated amounts.
Mulvaney said the funds are being drawn from those already appropriated by Congress. He added this is regularly done.
The emergency declaration “creates zero precedent, authority given to the president in law already,” said Mulvaney. He called suggestions that this creates a precedent for Democrats to later declare a gun emergency “completely false.”
Stipulations put on the $1.375 billion from the appropriations bill do not apply to other money being moved under the national emergency declaration, according to a senior administration official. The $600 million from Treasury and the section 264 Department of Defense funds under the declaration do not require declaration of national emergency. The Section 2808 funds do, according to the official.
The official said that the funds will be used to build steel bollard wall based on long ago agreement with Democrats. The official said they accepted those restrictions several months ago. It was not clear whether there were official limitations on the type of wall built outside of promises made to Democrats by administration officials.
The administration official would not discuss how any legal challenges to the declaration will be dealt with.
Military construction projects that will see funds reappropriated will be lower priority projects, those to fix or repair that can wait, not those that would affect lethality or military effectiveness.
The administration official said that where the fence will be placed will be a bit of a mix and match as different pots of money have different requirements.
Where fencing will be placed will also heed the Border Patrol Border Security Improvement Plan which takes into account multiple factors as to where the physical barrier is needed. Appropriators, authorizers, and local authorities will also be involved in determining where physical barrier will be erected.