The Latest: Governor: Immoral to use disaster money for wall
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump and the partial government shutdown (all times local):
California Gov. Gavin Newsom is calling President Donald Trump’s threat to use disaster relief money to build a border wall “unconscionable.”
The new Democratic governor says the proposal would take away money from California communities devastated by disaster to “pay for an immoral wall that America doesn’t want or need.”
The president earlier threatened to withhold federal emergency money for California’s wildfire response.
Seven water-related California projects are on the chopping block. One includes raising parts of the Folsom Dam to prevent flood risk in the Sacramento region. The dam is one of the nation’s five critical infrastructure dams.
President Donald Trump says his visit to the U.S.-Mexico border supports what he sees as a crisis of drugs and crime coming across.
He tweets that “it is a far worse situation than almost anyone would understand, an invasion!”
During a visit to the Texas border this week, Trump was presented with statistics on unauthorized crossings and an array of drugs seized by agents. But the drugs were intercepted at official points of entry, not the areas where Trump wants to build a wall. And when Trump traveled to the Rio Grande, there were no signs of invading hordes.
Trump is trying to get lawmakers to fund the wall as part of ending the partial government shutdown.
Vice President Mike Pence is pledging that the Trump administration will keep fighting to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.
Pence made that commitment during what was meant to be a morale-boosting appearance at the Washington headquarters for U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
CBP agents are among the 800,000 federal employees who must work without pay during what is on track to become the longest government shutdown in U.S. history.
Pence told several dozen agents that just as they fight daily for the nation’s security, “this president and this administration will keep fighting to build the wall.”
Just a few Republicans have joined Democrats as the House has voted to reopen some agencies closed by the partial federal shutdown.
The measure isn’t expected to go anywhere in the GOP-controlled Senate, and the closure is continuing for a record-tying 21st day.
The vote shows that Republicans, at least in the House, remain largely behind President Donald Trump’s demand for $5.7 billion in taxpayer money to start building his proposed border wall with Mexico.
The House voted by a near party-line 240-179 on Friday to reopen the Interior Department, the Environmental Protection Agency and some smaller agencies.
Ten Republicans joined all voting Democrats by voting “yes.” The 10 defections were similar to the number of House Republicans who’ve supported other spending measures.
The government also closed for 21 days beginning in December 1995.
U.S. officials say the Pentagon is finalizing plans that would send hundreds of additional active-duty troops to the U.S.-Mexico border for several more months to support the Department of Homeland Security and install another 160 miles (257 kilometers) of concertina wire in Arizona and California.
Details are being worked out, but the plan likely would extend the military’s border mission though the end of September. The mission is separate from President Donald Trump’s campaign to build a border wall but is designed to bolster security.
Officials said Friday the installation of the wire barrier is not expected to take that long, so troops doing that would be finished long before September.
There currently are 2,350 active-duty troops assigned to the border mission, which was slated to end Jan. 31.
The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss details not yet approved.
—Associated Press writer Lolita C. Baldor.
The House has voted to ensure that all federal employees will be paid retroactively after the partial government shutdown ends.
The bill passed Friday requires that all employees, including those who have been furloughed, be paid as soon as possible once the government reopens.
The Senate approved the bill unanimously Thursday. The bill now heads to President Donald Trump, who is expected to sign it.
More than 800,000 workers, more than half of them still on the job, missed their first paycheck Friday under the stoppage, which began Dec. 22.
Miami International Airport is closing a terminal this weekend due to the partial government shutdown because security screeners have been calling in sick at twice the airport’s normal rate.
Friday marks the first day screeners will miss a paycheck, and airport spokesman Greg Chin says there’s a concern there won’t be enough workers to handle all 11 checkpoints during normal hours over the weekend.
Chin says Terminal G will close at 1 p.m. Saturday, reopen for flights Sunday morning and close again at 1 p.m. that day.
The terminal serves United Airlines along with smaller carriers. Its closure means restaurants and shops that depend on departing flights also will close.
Chin told The Miami Herald that some passengers have complained about longer waits but there have been no abnormal security delays.
Puerto Rico’s representative in Congress says it is “unacceptable” for President Donald Trump to consider taking billions of dollars slated for disaster response in the U.S. territory to help build a border wall. She said to do so amounts to “playing with our pain and hope.”
A congressional official said Thursday the White House has directed the Army Corps of Engineers to look for billions of dollars earmarked last year for disaster response for Puerto Rico and other areas that could be diverted to a border wall.
Jenniffer Gonzalez said Friday that the island still has not received $2.5 billion in funds even though more than a year has passed since Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico as a Category 4 storm.
She says, “To use this now as a political football is not what U.S. citizens in Puerto Rico deserve.”
The money was set aside for projects including channeling rivers to prevent flooding, which has long been a widespread problem for the U.S. territory, especially during the Atlantic’s six-month hurricane season.
President Donald Trump is edging closer to declaring a national emergency to fund his long-promised border wall, as pressure mounts to find an escape hatch from the three-week impasse that has closed parts of the government, leaving hundreds of thousands of workers without pay.
Some 800,000 workers, more than half of them still on the job, will miss their first paycheck on Friday under the stoppage, and Washington is close to setting a dubious record for the longest government shutdown in U.S. history. That left some Republicans on Capitol Hill increasingly uncomfortable with Trump’s demands.
Asked about the plight of those going without pay, the president shifted the focus, saying he felt badly “for people that have family members that have been killed” by criminals who came over the border.