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Donald Trump May Consider Declaring National Emergency To Build Border Wall

Trump, as he often has, claimed erroneously that "Large sections of WALL have already been built with much more either under construction or ready to go."

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President Donald Trump speaks during a discussion of "fighting human trafficking on the southern border" with Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, center, and International Network of Hearts President Alma Tucker at the White House in Washington, Feb. 1, 2019.

U.S. President Donald Trump said Friday that he would consider declaration of a national emergency as the path forward to building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border because he didn’t think lawmakers’ negotiations would produce the necessary funds.

“We will be looking at a national emergency because I don’t think anything is going to happen. I think Democrats don’t want border security. And when I hear them talking about the fact that walls are immoral, walls don’t work — they know they work,” Trump said.

On Thursday, the president called bipartisan congressional talks over border wall funding a “waste of time.”

‘I’ve set the table’

In a White House interview with The New York Times on Thursday, Trump again hinted he might declare a national emergency in order to bypass Congress and build the wall without its approval.

Nancy Pelosi, Border
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., talks to reporters on Capitol Hill, Jan. 24, 2019. VOA

“I’ll continue to build the wall and we’ll get the wall finished. Now, whether or not I declare a national emergency, that you’ll see … I’ve set the table, I’ve set the stage for doing what I’m going to do.”

If within two weeks lawmakers can’t reach a deal on border security that Trump would sign, there could be another government shutdown.

If Trump does declare a national emergency, Democrats who don’t want any money for a border wall will probably immediately challenge Trump in court.

The president had strong words for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has repeatedly said she will not agree to give Trump the $5.7 billion he wants for a wall.

Border Security
Members of a U.S Army engineering brigade place concertina wire around an encampment near the U.S.-Mexico international bridge, Nov. 4, 2018, in Donna, Texas. VOA

“I think Nancy Pelosi is hurting our country very badly by doing what she’s doing,” Trump said, adding that while he has always gotten along with her, “I don’t think I will anymore.”

Pelosi has said she is open to other kinds of barriers along the border, but Trump said alternatives were unacceptable.

Meanwhile, the Pentagon said it was sending an additional 3,500 troops to the U.S. southern border with Mexico to assist with security measures.

Rep. Adam Smith, the Washington state Democrat who is chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, released the latest troop numbers after slamming the Pentagon’s lack of transparency in a letter to acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan.

A defense official confirmed that the Pentagon was sending 3,500 additional active-duty troops to the border, for a total of 5,800 active-duty troops and 2,300 National Guard troops supporting the Department of Homeland Security’s request for additional border security.

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President Donald Trump speaks during a tour as he reviews border wall prototypes in San Diego, March 13, 2018. VOA

The official, who spoke to VOA on condition of anonymity, added that this “initial pop” in the number of troops would not be sustained through September.

How they’ll be used

Some of these 3,500 will be replacing troops who will be leaving soon, while others are being assigned to the border for only 30 or 60 days in order to set up large coils of barbed wire in specific areas, according to the official.

Without giving details, Trump tweeted Thursday: “More troops being sent to the Southern Border to stop the attempted Invasion of Illegals, through large caravans, into our Country. We have stopped the previous Caravans, and we will stop these also. With a Wall it would be soooo much easier and less expensive.”

Trump, as he often has, claimed erroneously that “Large sections of WALL have already been built with much more either under construction or ready to go.” The U.S. has been repairing existing barriers, which Trump called “a very big part of the plan to finally, after many decades, properly Secure Our Border. The Wall is getting done one way or the other!”

Also Read: White House Challenges Democrats To Prove Their Commitment To Border Security

At various times, Trump has called the barriers at the border an impenetrable concrete wall, and other times “steel slats,” or a see-through barrier.

On Thursday, though, Trump said, “Let’s just call them WALLS from now on and stop playing political games! A WALL is a WALL!” (VOA)

Next Story

Trump EPA Finalizes Rollback of Key Obama Climate Rule that Targeted Coal Plants

The new Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule gives America's 50 states three years to develop their own emissions reduction plans

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Trump, Obama, Climate
EPA administrator Andrew Wheeler speaks with the media at the Environmental Protection Agency, June 19, 2019, in Washington. VOA

The Trump administration is rolling back rules to curb greenhouse gas emissions in the United States as scientists continue to warn countries to rapidly cut emissions to prevent the most drastic effects of climate change.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced Wednesday it had finalized rules to replace the Clean Power Plan, former President Barack Obama’s initiative to cut global warming emissions from coal plants.

The new Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule gives America’s 50 states three years to develop their own emissions reduction plans by encouraging coal plants to improve their efficiency.

By contrast, the Clean Power Plan was designed to slash power plant carbon emissions by more than one-third from 2005 levels by 2030 by pushing utilities to replace coal with cleaner fuels like natural gas, solar and wind.

Trump, Obama, Climate
The Trump administration is rolling back rules to curb greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. VOA

The Obama-era plan was never enacted, however, because of lawsuits filed by Republican states and hundreds of companies. The Supreme Court halted its enactment in February 2016.

“States will be given the flexibility to design a plan that best suits their citizens environmental and energy needs, according to a summary of the new rules,” according to a summary of the ruling.

EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said at a Washington news conference, “Our ACE rule will incentivize new technology which will ensure coal plants will be part of a cleaner future.”

But environmentalists, many Democratic lawmakers and some state attorneys general have labeled the new rules the “Dirty Power Plan,” maintaining they will lead to increases in carbon emissions and other pollutants over the next few decades.

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“At a time when Americans are urging us to take meaningful climate action and reduce our carbon footprint, today’s Dirty Power Plan is a failure of vision and leadership,” said Joe Goffman, executive director of Harvard University’s Environmental & Energy Law Program.

Even the EPA’s own regulatory analysis last year estimated Trump’s ACE rule would kill an additional 300 to 1,500 people each year by 2030 because of more air pollution from the U.S. power grid.

Trump has, nevertheless, dismissed scientific warnings on climate change, including a report this year from scientists at more than a dozen federal agencies noting that global warming from fossil fuels “presents growing challenges to human health and quality of life.”

Trump promised early in his presidency to kill the Clean Power Plan as part of an effort to revive the ailing coal industry, contending it exceeded the federal government’s authority.

Trump, Obama, Climate
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced Wednesday it had finalized rules to replace the Clean Power Plan. Pixabay

Wednesday’s announcement to overturn Obama-era climate rules is part of a broader Trump administration effort to roll back “a multitude of health, safety environmental and consumer protections at the behest of corporate interests,” the non-profit consumer rights advocacy group Public Citizen concluded in a report released in May.

The report said shortly after Trump took office in early 2017, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) sent the Trump administration a list of 132 regulations that “concerned” members and detailed their “preferred course of action to address its concerns on each of the regulations.”

The report concluded that “Regulatory agencies have granted or are working on granting 85 percent of the wishes related to rulemakings on a list of deregulatory demands submitted” by NAM.

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The new rule is expected to take effect within 30 days. (VOA)