President Trump has promised billions to help Texas rebuild after Hurricane Harvey caused flooding of Biblical proportions. House Republicans, on the other hand, are looking at slashing almost $1.0 billion from disaster accounts to help build Trump’s promised border wall with Mexico.
The proposed reduction to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) disaster relief account is part of a huge spending bill that the House is scheduled to look at next week, after lawmakers come back from their August recess.
The $876.0-million cut, which is included in the homeland security section of the bill, will cover roughly half of the cost of the down payment on the border wall with Mexico. Trump promised on the campaign trail that Mexico would finance the wall, but it now appears as though American taxpayers are going to.
Despite the fact that flood waters continue to ravage Houston, the fourth-largest city in America, and thousands of Texans are in temporary shelters, the GOP wants to sap nearly $1.0 billion from federal disaster coffers, which currently, stands at just $2.3 billion.
FEMA has said the cleanup will take years and cost billions of dollars. Because flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey is still going on, officials do not even know how much aid Houston will actually need to recover. However, it will likely be more than the $2.3 billion sitting there right now.
Even though the idea of gutting disaster relief to pay for the wall was proposed well before Hurricane Harvey, the notion that the GOP still wants to go through with the plan looks tone-deaf. And if it does an about-face next week, homeland security will be looking for ways to fill the $1.0-billion gap.
Last week in Phoenix, the president said he promised to build a border wall with Mexico even “if we have to close down our government.” That said, chances are good that Republicans will be able to avoid a shutdown after the fiscal year ends on September 30.
Trump and his fellow Republicans have good reason to avoid a shutdown. The S&P has warned of a stock market crash if the government shuts down. A government shutdown would also make it more difficult for Trump to enact his sweeping tax cuts.
“Republicans considering $1 billion disaster relief cut to help fund Trump’s wall,” The Independent, August 31, 2017.