How's this for great timing? A new report from the Associated Press says that Republicans are still looking to build President Donald Trump's border wall, and Congress could cut disaster aid funding to do it. In the middle of Hurricane Harvey, which is wreaking havoc on southeastern Texas, GOP politicians are looking at cutting almost $1 billion from disaster relief.
The cut was proposed, somewhat ironically, by Republican Representative Rodney Frelinghuysen from New Jersey, who helped create the Sandy recovery package in 2013, and Rep. John Carter, a Republican from Texas.
The cut is part of a large spending bill the House will consider when it returns from August recess. Disaster relief efforts would take an $876 million hit -- which would pay for "roughly half" of the down payment on a border wall between the United States and Mexico. A wall that Trump repeatedly promised Mexico would pay for, as a reminder.
This isn't the first time Trump has looked for backdoor means of paying for his border wall. The president was rumored to have announced the trans military ban in late July in order to save a spending bill that included funds for his wall.
And it isn't surprising that wall supporters are looking for different ways to pay for the project; over the past few months, Trump has gone from insisting that Mexico will pay to saying that it will reimburse the United States, according to an infamous and poorly worded tweet:
And now, it seems, even that marble-mouthed promise is out the door.
But the disaster funding cut likely won't fly in the face of Harvey's ongoing path of destruction. House Appropriations Committee Spokeswoman Jennifer Hing told the AP, “Circumstances have changed significantly since the bill was drafted earlier this summer. Given the current situation, the committee is reassessing the issue.”
In other words, it would look really, really bad to cut disaster aid funds right now.
But if Harvey hadn't hit Houston, would they have done it?
This isn't the first time Republicans have suggested cutting fundamental services. Per The Washington Post, the Trump administration also considered funding cuts to the Coast Guard in order to pay for the wall. The freakin' Coast Guard. (And that likely won't be the last cuts considered.)
If Harvey hadn't happened and the cuts did pass, it's hard to think about the damage that could be done by the next superstorm, or how long and painful recovery might be without enough monetary assistance. After all, climate change scientists and meteorologists are warning that storms like Harvey are going to become more and more common as climate change worsens.
So, really, there's no good time to cut these funds.