by Neil Munro
January 9, 2019
The White House can use unspent funds to build a wall if President Donald Trump declares a national emergency and fends off various lawsuits, say lawyers cited in media reports.
The New York Times reported:
The Trump administration could point to two laws and say they allow officials to proceed with building a border wall without first obtaining explicit authorization and appropriations from Congress, according to Elizabeth Goitein, who oversaw the Brennan Center’s study and is a co-director of its Liberty and National Security Program.
One of the laws permits the secretary of the Army to halt Army civil works projects during a presidentially declared emergency and instead direct troops and other resources to help construct “authorized civil works, military construction and civil defense projects that are essential to the national defense.”
Another law permits the secretary of defense, in an emergency, to begin military construction projects “not otherwise authorized by law that are necessary to support such use of the armed forces,” using funds that Congress had appropriated for military construction purposes that have not yet been earmarked for specific projects.
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