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GOP Plan Would Sacrifice Disaster Relief For Border Wall

GOP Plan Would Sacrifice Disaster Relief For Border Wall Promo Image

As plans are being made to help Texas recover from the destruction caused by Hurricane Harvey, the Republican Party is reportedly considering slashing the Federal Emergency Management Agency's budget by almost $1 billion to free up funds for President Donald Trump's proposed border wall.

The FEMA budget, which is used to organize the federal government's response to natural disasters, is one casualty of a GOP spending bill that is scheduled to be introduced to the House in September. The bill proposes an $876 million cut to disaster relief accounts, according to Time.

That money would instead go toward a down payment on Trump's border wall, his signature campaign promise.

However, the GOP is unlikely to follow through with the reduction in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, which has devastated wide swaths of Texas and displaced tens of thousands of people. The federal government currently has a total of $2.3 billion earmarked for disaster relief.

"Circumstances have changed significantly since the bill was drafted earlier this summer," Appropriations Committee spokeswoman Jennifer Hing said. "Given the current situation, the committee is reassessing the issue."

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Trump has repeatedly warned of a government shutdown if Congress fails to provide enough money to finance the wall.

"I hope that's not necessary. If it's necessary, we'll have to see," Trump said on Aug. 28, according to CNN. "The wall is needed from the standpoint of security."

He has also insisted that Mexico will pay for the wall, despite the Mexican government's statements to the contrary.

"With Mexico being one of the highest crime Nations in the world, we must have THE WALL," Trump tweeted on Aug. 27. "Mexico will pay for it through reimbursement/other."

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Members of Congress have not taken kindly to what they see as Trump's efforts to push them into giving him what he wants.

"You're not going to bully United States senators, this isn't the Apprentice," Rep. Tom Cole, a Republican from Oklahoma, told Time. "You can't look at them and say you're fired. You're going to need their vote and you ought to remember that they're going to be at the table in every major deal you need for the next three years. So I just don't think that's a productive way to proceed."

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will reportedly meet with White House officials regarding the border wall and other fiscal issues on Sept. 6. House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer will also be in attendance, according to Time.

Sources: Time, CNN / Featured Image: Lawrence Jackson via Wikimedia Commons / Embedded Images: Bjoertvedt/Wikimedia Commons, Sgt. 1st Class Malcolm McClendon/U.S. Department of Defense

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