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Texas governor, top lawmakers tell Trump not to use hurricane relief funds to build border wall

Texas governor, top lawmakers tell Trump not to use hurricane relief funds to build border wall
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Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) joined the state’s two Republican U.S. senators and a bipartisan group of lawmakers in signing a letter to President TrumpDonald John TrumpNearly 300 former national security officials sign Biden endorsement letter DC correspondent on the death of Michael Reinoehl: 'The folks I know in law enforcement are extremely angry about it' Late night hosts targeted Trump over Biden 97 percent of the time in September: study MORE Tuesday calling on him not to use funds intended for disaster relief to build a border wall.

"Recent reports have indicated that your administration is considering the use of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers funds, appropriated by Congress and intended for Hurricane Harvey recovery and mitigation efforts, in an effort to secure our southern border," the letter states. 

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"We strongly support securing the border with additional federal resources including tactical infrastructure, technology, ports of entry improvements and personnel,” it said. “However, we are strongly opposed to using funds appropriated by Congress for disaster relief and mitigation for Texas for any unintended purpose."

The letter was signed by Abbott and GOP Sens. John CornynJohn CornynSenate GOP eyes Oct. 26 for confirming Barrett to Supreme Court GOP noncommittal about vote on potential Trump-Pelosi coronavirus deal The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Goldman Sachs - Tipping point week for Trump, Biden, Congress, voters MORE and Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzSenate Republicans offer constitutional amendment to block Supreme Court packing 10 bellwether counties that could signal where the election is headed Conservatives seize on New York Post story to push Section 230 reform MORE.

Twenty House lawmakers from the state signed on to the letter, including GOP Reps. Kevin BradyKevin Patrick BradyOn The Money: GOP cool to White House's .6T coronavirus price tag | Company layoffs mount as pandemic heads into fall | Initial jobless claims drop to 837,000 GOP cool to White House's .6T coronavirus price tag The Hill's Morning Report - Fight night: Trump, Biden hurl insults in nasty debate MORE, Dan CrenshawDaniel CrenshawChanging suburbs threaten GOP hold on Texas Biden, Democrats see late opportunity in Texas Dan Crenshaw releases Hollywood-type action movie trailer MORE and Randy WeberRandall (Randy) Keith WeberHouse rebuffs GOP lawmaker's effort to remove references to Democrats in Capitol Hillicon Valley: Judge's ruling creates fresh hurdle for TikTok | House passes bills to secure energy sector against cyberattacks | Biden campaign urges Facebook to remove Trump posts spreading 'falsehoods' House passes bills to secure energy sector against cyberattacks MORE, and Democratic Reps. Sylvia GarciaSylvia GarciaHispanic Caucus asks for Department of Labor meeting on COVID in meatpacking plants Texas Democrat proposes legislation requiring masks in federal facilities Hispanic Caucus requests meeting with private detention center CEOs MORE, Sheila Jackson LeeSheila Jackson LeePocan won't seek another term as Progressive Caucus co-chair Grand jury charges no officers in Breonna Taylor death Hillicon Valley: Murky TikTok deal raises questions about China's role | Twitter investigating automated image previews over apparent algorithmic bias | House approves bill making hacking federal voting systems a crime MORE and Lizzie Fletcher.

“As Texans continue to rebuild and prepare for future disasters, these funds, appropriated by Congress to be spent directly on rebuilding and mitigation, are critical to helping our communities recover, preventing future flooding and protecting our constituents,” the lawmakers continued in the letter.

“Thank you for your commitment to help Texas respond to Hurricane Harvey and to secure the southern border. We ask that you ensure necessary efforts on border security do not jeopardize long-term hurricane recovery and mitigation in Texas,” they added.

Reports emerged last week that the Trump administration was considering redirecting unused money that was allocated for hurricane disaster relief in places like Texas and Puerto Rico to foot the bill for his proposed border wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Trump has been talking about declaring a national emergency to build the wall and end the partial government shutdown now in its 26th day. Declaring the emergency would allow him to use other unspent funds and avoid the necessity of having Congress appropriate new funds for the wall.

The unspent money for Army Corps of Engineers projects in a disaster bill approved last year is one possible source of funds, though it is not the only source that has been scrutinized.

Trump in recent days has talked down the possibility of declaring an emergency, suggesting he would prefer to reach a negotiated solution with Democrats opposed to the wall. But the two sides have made precious little progress toward a deal.