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It’s crunch time. The next government shutdown will happen after Friday if a deal isn’t made now and it looks like that’s not going to happen. With the rules in the House stating bills need to have 72 hours for reading before a vote, that means tomorrow is the deadline to reach a deal.
The chances of the wall being in that deal are slim to none. The chances of President Trump signing it without the wall are low unless he’s able to act outside of Congress to get wall construction going. That likely means declaring a national emergency, but there’s another option that would work better.
Some in Washington DC, including Trump-allies Mark Meadows and Mo Brooks, are lightly pushing the President to have his Secretary of Defense invoke 10 U.S.C. 284. It would not require Congressional approval, nor would it require the President to declare a national emergency. Instead, it would involve the Pentagon working with law enforcement at the border to begin construction of a border wall in the areas that are most susceptible to drug smuggling and/or transnational organized crime.
Invoking it would allow the military to begin wall construction almost immediately.
The ideal situation would be for Congress to stop obstructing and fund the wall in whole or in part. This would make the most sense. It would eliminate the limits involved in utilizing the United States Code and would draw the money from appropriate sources instead of forcing the use of funds set aside for other purposes.
That ideal situation seems nearly impossible considering the Democrats’ unhinged desire to stop the President from getting a political victory even if doing so means putting more Americans in harm’s way. Their focus is on 2020, not the here and now. Their focus is on power, not the safety of American citizens.
Declaring a national emergency would have its own pitfalls. First and most prominently, it would be very difficult to get wall construction started in the first place. Legal challenges and bureaucratic red tape would engulf his declaration to the point that construction may no even begin before the 2020 election. In fact, it may never begin.
With 10 U.S.C. 284, most of the legal challenges and nearly all the bureaucratic red tape is relieved. The military is given wide legal berth to accomplish their missions of defending the nation. That includes defending our sovereign borders from all incursions.
The pitfall of going down this road, and perhaps the only reason the President isn’t openly considering it, is that it would be limited in scope. This would get the wall started, but some experts believe this would only get the President around a billion dollars worth of wall before funds could no longer be justified easily.
We’ve written about this move eight times now. The concept is gaining support, but it may be too late. We need to continue to remind Republicans on Capitol Hill that this is the right way to go. They know it, but there’s some pushback from the White House. Where it’s coming from, we don’t know, but it’s time to stop pretending to want the wall and actually do something to start building it.
It’s better to address our immediate needs as quickly as possible rather than waiting for Congress to do their jobs or hoping a national emergency declaration can work its way through the process in time. We need the wall now. 10 U.S.C. 284 is the way.
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