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 TrumpO'Rourke: Trump driving global, U.S. economy into recession Manchin: Trump has 'golden opportunity' on gun reforms Objections to Trump's new immigration rule wildly exaggerated 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 CornynThe Hill's Campaign Report: Battle for Senate begins to take shape The Hill's Morning Report — Trump and the new Israel-'squad' controversy O'Rourke says he will not 'in any scenario' run for Senate MORE and Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzTrump moves forward with F-16 sale to Taiwan opposed by China The Hill's Campaign Report: Battle for Senate begins to take shape O'Rourke says he will not 'in any scenario' run for Senate MORE.

Twenty House lawmakers from the state signed on to the letter, including GOP Reps. Kevin BradyKevin Patrick BradyRepublicans' rendezvous with reality — their plan is to cut Social Security The Social Security 2100 Act is critical for millennials and small business owners House panel releases documents of presidential tax return request before Trump MORE, Dan CrenshawDaniel CrenshawCNN slams GOP for not appearing on network after mass shootings, conservatives fire back Texas Democratic official: GOP needs to 'get real' about gun reform after El Paso Conservatives call on Pelosi to cancel August recess MORE and Randy WeberRandall (Randy) Keith WeberHouse conservatives call for ethics probe into Joaquin Castro tweet Conservatives call on Pelosi to cancel August recess Current, former lawmakers celebrate release of new book on Jack Brooks, 'The Meanest Man in Congress' MORE, and Democratic Reps. Sylvia GarciaSylvia GarciaAudience laughs when Mueller jokes about member of Congress lying Here are the 95 Democrats who voted to support impeachment Top Dem money man puts muscle behind Latino mobilization MORE, Sheila Jackson LeeSheila Jackson LeeJackson Lee: 'Racism is a national security threat' Most oppose cash reparations for slavery: poll Poll: Most Americans oppose reparations 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.