President Donald Trump declared a national emergency on Feb. 15 to address the humanitarian crisis on the southwest border and secure funds for border-wall construction. The emergency declaration, combined with a spending bill passed by Congress on Feb. 14, will provide his administration with $8 billion for wall construction, the president said.
Director of the Office of Management and Budget Mick Mulvaney told reporters on a conference call on Feb. 15 that with the emergency declared, the administration will shift $600 million from the Treasury Department, and $6.1 billion from the military budget for border-wall construction.
The $6.1 billion in funds to be drawn from the Department of Defense budget includes $2.5 billion that will be reallocated from the counter drug activity purse and $3.6 billion from the military construction budget.
Congress passed a $333 billion spending bill on Feb. 14 that includes $1.375 billion in funds for the construction of a border wall. The amount is far short of the $5.7 billion Trump demanded last year. Three weeks ago, the president promised to use executive powers if lawmakers failed to secure the funds he asked for.
As of Feb. 15, there were 31 national emergencies in effect in the United States on issues like drug trafficking, terrorism, and cybercrime. Trump declared three of the emergencies. The president issued the first national emergency in December 2017, targeting perpetrators of human rights abuses and corruption. Trump issued his second national emergency in September last year, allowing for sanctions against those who interfere in U.S. elections. He declared a third national emergency in November 2018, addressing human rights abuses and corruption in Nicaragua.
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Risk of Flooding, Mudslides Remains After California Storm
Authorities warn that mudslides are still possible on Friday, Feb. 15, even after a damaging storm moved through California, trapping people in floodwaters, triggering a debris flow that destroyed homes, and forcing residents to flee communities scorched by wildfires last year.
The powerful system swept in from the Pacific Ocean and unleashed rain, snow and wind across the U.S. West into Wyoming and Colorado after walloping Northern California and southern Oregon earlier.
The rain mostly ended Thursday night. But officials said hillsides could still loosen and collapse, bringing down mud, boulders and debris.
“The ground is still so saturated and the water is still flowing down from the mountains,” said April Newman, spokeswoman for Riverside County Fire Department.
Nearly 37 percent of California had no level of drought or abnormal dryness, the U.S. Drought Monitor reported Thursday. About 10.5 percent of the state was in moderate drought, and just over 1.6 percent was in severe drought. The remainder was in the abnormally dry category. The numbers reflect data gathered up to Tuesday.
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U.S. Delegation Arrived Munich for Security Conference
A large U.S. delegation is arriving in Munich, Germany, on Friday, to attend the the 55th security conference.
Vice President Mike Pence, acting Defence Minister Pat Shanahan, President Trump’s oldest daughter Ivanka Trump, and a White House adviser, were among the participants.
Entitled “The Great Puzzle: Who Will Pick Up the Pieces?”
the conference will look at a new age of competition between major global powers like China, the United States and Russia that risks leaving the world facing an unpredictable and more hostile future.
Vice President Pence is scheduled to give a speech at the security conference on Saturday.
This year’s event is being touted as one of the biggest yet with 600 participants. More than 30 heads of states and governments and 80 defence and foreign ministers are expected in the Bavarian state capital in the south of Germany.