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 TrumpTrump cites tax cuts over judges as having biggest impact of his presidency Trump cites tax cuts over judges as having biggest impact of his presidency Ocasio-Cortez claps back at Trump after he cites her in tweet rejecting impeachment 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 CornynTrump puts GOP in tough spot with remarks on foreign 'dirt' Trump puts GOP in tough spot with remarks on foreign 'dirt' Overnight Health Care: Pelosi to change drug-pricing plan after complaints | 2020 Democrats to attend Planned Parenthood abortion forum | House holds first major 'Medicare for All' hearing MORE and Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzCruz, Ocasio-Cortez efforts on birth control access face major obstacles Ocasio-Cortez and Cruz's dialogue shows common ground isn't just for moderates Ted Cruz, AOC have it right on banning former members of Congress from becoming lobbyists MORE.

Twenty House lawmakers from the state signed on to the letter, including GOP Reps. Kevin BradyKevin Patrick BradyFirst major 'Medicare for All' hearing sharpens attacks on both sides First major 'Medicare for All' hearing sharpens attacks on both sides House passes bipartisan IRS reform bill without 'Free File' provision MORE, Dan CrenshawDaniel CrenshawHonor veterans by considering alternatives to the foreign policy status quo Thirty-four GOP members buck Trump on disaster bill Behar clashes with Dan Crenshaw on Trump's Charlottesville comments MORE and Randy WeberRandall (Randy) Keith WeberCurrent, former lawmakers celebrate release of new book on Jack Brooks, 'The Meanest Man in Congress' House passes bill expressing support for NATO Texas governor, top lawmakers tell Trump not to use hurricane relief funds to build border wall MORE, and Democratic Reps. Sylvia GarciaSylvia GarciaTop Dem money man puts muscle behind Latino mobilization Dems visit shelter for migrant children, call it 'chilling' Texas governor, top lawmakers tell Trump not to use hurricane relief funds to build border wall MORE, Sheila Jackson LeeSheila Jackson LeeHouse to hold first hearing on slavery reparations in over a decade House to hold first hearing on slavery reparations in over a decade Democrats begin Mueller hearings with Watergate-era witness 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.