Senate Democrats are gearing up to block President Donald Trump from building the border wall, but they are apparently unaware that the president as a “Plan B.”
As reported by The Daily Beast, a group of Senate Democrats are trying to introduce legislation that would prevent Trump from building his proposed wall by declaring a national emergency.
The bill, which is titled the Restrictions Against Illegitimate Declarations for Emergency Re-Appropriations, or RAIDER Act, has the support of roughly a dozen Democrats, which is not even close to what they will need to pass the measure in the Republican-controlled Senate.
If passed, which is highly doubtful, the measure would block Trump from building the wall with funds drawn from either the Department of Defense’s military construction accounts or the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Despite the legislation having little to no chance of passing in the Senate, Trump has a “Plan B.”
During a hearing last Tuesday before the House Armed Services Committee, Under-Secretary of Defense for Policy John Rood told Rep. Mo Brooks, R-AL, that there’s a loophole that would allow Trump to build the wall without Congress or having to declare a national emergency.
Rood and Brooks went on to discuss 10 U.S. Code § 284, which appears to indicate that the president of the United States can direct America’s military to build a wall.
BROOKS: I want to direct your attention to 10 United States Code § 284 which authorizes President Trump to deploy the United States military to the southern border to build fences and to do a lot of other things. And for clarity, if you look it up in the dictionary the word fence includes the word barrier and the word barrier includes walls made of a wide variety of different materials.
So that having been said, it seems to me that 10 U.S. Code § 284 can be used by the President of the United States to direct the United States military to build a wall. Now as of today, you’ve mentioned military forces along the southern border, have any of them been deployed pursuant to 10 U.S.C. § 284?
Now as of today, you’ve mentioned military forces along the southern border, have any of them been deployed pursuant to 10 U.S.C. § 284?
ROOD: Congressman, I don’t believe any of our forces have been deployed pursuant to 10 U.S.C. § 284. You are correct, however, that that use of authority would authorize the secretary of defense to erect barriers, roads, fencing, those types of materials to disrupt drug smuggling.
BROOKS: Does 10 U.S.C. § 284 as you understand it, require the declaration of a national emergency before it is implemented?
BROOKS: It does not?
BROOKS: Has President Trump, to your knowledge, ever used 10 U.S.C § 284 to direct the military to build the wall that is necessary for border security?
ROOD: No, not to my knowledge, Congressman.
BROOKS: If President Trump were to direct the Pentagon and the United States military pursuant to 10 U.S.C § 284 to build such barriers as are necessary to secure our southern border from drug trafficking and international crime cartels would the United States military obey that order?
ROOD: If we judge it to be a lawful order, yes sir. And I assume it would be.
In fact, Trump may even have a “Plan C.”
Lepor argues that several former president’s have used the “unobligated balances” and that there would be a clear precedent for Trump to do the same thing to build the wall.