Democrats Release Bill to Block Pentagon Border Wall Funds
Dems try to derail president Donald Trump's emergency wall-building declaration
House Democrats unveiled a bill that would block the Pentagon from spending any of its border wall money, which would derail president Donald Trump's emergency wall-building declaration.
The first draft of the 2020 defense spending bill seeks to punish Trump for attempting transfer money by making the Pentagon jump through more hoops for any future funding.
Overall, the legislation spends a lot less on the Pentagon than President Trump had requested.
“We have the most capable and advanced military in the world, and this bill honors their mission by adequately funding programs to care for service members and their families, and by protecting defense funding from being stolen for the president’s wasteful wall,” said Rep. Nita Lowey, chair of the House Appropriations Committee.
The bill is slated for its first committee action on Wednesday.
According to The Wahington Times: Congress approved a bill earlier this year appropriating $1.375 billion for the president’s border wall — far less than the more than $5 billion he’d demanded.
Mr. Trump signed that legislation then immediately declared a border emergency, flexing the National Emergencies Act to move $3.6 billion from military construction funds at the Pentagon over to build a border wall.
The president also said he would move $2.5 billion within the Pentagon to its drug interdiction accounts, then use that money for border wall construction in drug corridors — which is allowed under current law.
And Mr. Trump claimed $601 million out of a Treasury Department forfeiture fund for the wall.
Combined with the money Congress did approve, it amounts to more than $8 billion.
Congress approved a bill overturning the emergency declaration but the president vetoed it, and that veto was easily sustained.
House Democrats have now sued, hoping the courts will step in to referee. Democrat-led states, immigrant-rights groups, and environmental organizations have also mounted lawsuits in courtrooms from California to Texas to Washington, D.C.
Last month, the Department of Defense awarded $976 Million worth of contracts for the construction of the New Mexico and Arizona border walls.
$789 million was awarded to SLSCO Ltd., a builder based in Galveston, Texas, to replace a border wall in Santa Teresa, New Mexico.
$187 million was awarded to Barnard Construction Co. Inc to replace pedestrian barriers in Yuma, Arizona.
Both projects are expected to be completed in October 2020.