Feb 15, 2019

Trump declares national emergency to access $3.6B for border wall

Trump declares a national emergency in the White House Rose Garden. Photo: Chip Somodevilla via Getty Images

During today's Rose Garden announcement, President Trump laid out the administration’s plans to free up roughly $8 billion to be put toward building a wall on the southern border, $3.6 billion of which will be accessed through the declaration of a national emergency.

By the numbers: On a call with reporters Friday morning, acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney announced the breakdown of those funds.

  • From Congress: $1.375 billion will come from the budget deal that both chambers of Congress passed on Thursday and Trump signed on Friday afternoon.
  • Through executive action: Roughly $600 million will be pulled from the Treasury's drug forfeiture fund, and $2.5 billion from the Department of Defense's drug interdiction program.
  • From a national emergency declaration: Trump will declare a national emergency to free up about $3.6 billion from the DoD's military construction fund.

Mulvaney noted that no money is being pulled from the Texas disaster relief fund to build the wall.

Worth noting: $8 billion is more than the $5.7 billion Trump initially demanded from Democrats. A senior administration official said that they are freeing up an extra $2.3 billion to ensure that they have enough money to build the wall.

How it's playing: Trump's decision to invoke his emergency powers has drawn backlash from both Democrats and some Republicans who are concerned about the precedent it could set for future administrations.

What's next: The $3.6 billion being accessed through the emergency declaration will likely be challenged by the courts.

How it's playing: Trump's decision to invoke his emergency powers has drawn backlash from both Democrats and some Republicans who are concerned about the precedent it could set for future administrations.

  • Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer said in a statement: "This is plainly a power grab by a disappointed President, who has gone outside the bounds of the law to try to get what he failed to achieve in the constitutional legislative process."
  • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, meanwhile, said: "President Trump’s decision to announce emergency action is the predictable and understandable consequence of Democrats’ decision to put partisan obstruction ahead of the national interest."

Go deeper: Why Trump is declaring an emergency

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 855,007 — Total deaths: 42,032 — Total recoveries: 176,714.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in confirmed cases. Total confirmed cases as of 7 p.m. ET: 186,265 — Total deaths: 3,810 — Total recoveries: 6,910.
  3. Business updates: Should you pay your rent or mortgage during the coronavirus pandemic? Find out if you are protected under the CARES Act.
  4. Public health updates: More than 400 long-term care facilities across the U.S. report patients with coronavirus — Older adults and people with underlying health conditions are more at risk, new data shows.
  5. Federal government latest: President Trump said the next two weeks would be "very painful" on Tuesday, with projections indicating the virus could kill 100,000–240,000 Americans. The White House and other institutions are observing several models to help prepare for when COVID-19 is expected to peak in the U.S.
  6. U.S.S. Theodore Roosevelt: Captain of nuclear aircraft carrier docked in Guam pleaded with the U.S. Navy for more resources after more than 100 members of his crew tested positive.
  7. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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White House projects 100,000 to 240,000 U.S. coronavirus deaths

President Trump said at a press briefing on Tuesday that the next two weeks in the U.S. will be "very painful" and that he wants "every American to be prepared for the days that lie ahead," before giving way to Deborah Birx to explain the models informing the White House's new guidance on the coronavirus.

Why it matters: It's a somber new tone from the president that comes after his medical advisers showed him data projecting that the virus could kill 100,000–240,000 Americans — even with strict social distancing guidelines in place.

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Why it matters: The new CARES Act that was signed by President Trump on Friday protects homeowners and renters who are suffering from the response to the coronavirus pandemic — but it's not “a one-size-fits-all policy rulebook,” a congressional aide tells Axios.

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