House Spending Bill Bars Military Construction Funding for Border Wall


Submitted by AGC of Missouri

A House spending bill for military construction would block funding from going to President Trump’s wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.

The fiscal 2021 spending bill for military construction and the Department of Veterans Affairs would prohibit military construction funding appropriated since fiscal 2016 from being used on barriers on the southern border and roads to access a barrier on the border, according to draft text released by the House Appropriations Committee.

It would also prohibit funding for projects that were delayed because Trump declared a national emergency and dipped into military construction for the wall, according to the text.

The provision is included in a $250.9 billion spending bill that would give $10.1 billion to military construction in fiscal 2021. The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veteran Affairs and Related Agencies will consider the bill Monday night.

“This bill honors our commitment to the men and women in our armed services, to our veterans, and to military families, who sacrifice every day for our nation,” Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) said in a statement. “Critically, the bill will prevent President Trump from stealing any more appropriated funds from urgently needed military infrastructure projects to pay for his wasteful border wall.”

Separately, the House Appropriations Committee’s spending bill for the Department of Homeland Security would prohibit construction of a border wall.

Trump declared an emergency last year after a prolonged government shutdown over his request for border wall funding ended with Congress appropriating less than he requested.

Since then, Trump has taken $3.6 billion from military construction to be used on the wall. He has separately dipped into other Pentagon accounts to move billions more into the department’s counterdrug fund to use on the wall.

The moves have infuriated Democrats, and a few Republicans, who say Trump is ignoring Congress’s power of the purse. But legislative efforts to stop him have faltered in the past.

Last year’s House versions of spending bills would have similarly blocked funding for a border wall, but the bans did not survive negotiations with the Senate and White House.

Last year’s defense spending bill would have also limited the amount of money the Pentagon could move between accounts, and the defense policy bill would have similarly placed limits on funding transfers and banned Pentagon funding from being on the wall. But those, too, didn’t survive negotiations.

After last year’s fights, this year’s House version of the policy bill, the National Defense Authorization Act, avoids an exact replay. But it would cap emergency use of military construction funding at $100 million for domestic projects and $500 million for overseas projects.

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