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 TrumpHouse Dems demand Barr cancel 'inappropriate' press conference on Mueller report DOJ plans to release 'lightly redacted' version of Mueller report Thursday: WaPo Nadler accuses Barr of 'unprecedented steps' to 'spin' Mueller report 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 Cornyn Embattled senators fill coffers ahead of 2020 Trump struggles to reshape Fed Congress opens door to fraught immigration talks MORE and Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzO'Rourke sweeps through Virginia looking to energize campaign Disney to donate million to rebuild Notre Dame Celebs start opening their wallets for 2020 Dems MORE.

Twenty House lawmakers from the state signed on to the letter, including GOP Reps. Kevin BradyKevin Patrick BradyTreasury to miss Dem deadline for Trump tax returns Treasury expected to miss Dem deadline on Trump tax returns Mnuchin tells Congress it's 'premature' to talk about Trump tax returns decision MORE, Dan CrenshawDaniel CrenshawOcasio-Cortez knocks Republican over Kentucky trip: 'GOP thought they could catch us with a bluff' Overnight Energy: Collins receives more donations from Texas oil, gas industry than from Maine residents | Interior chief left meetings off schedule | Omar controversy jeopardizes Ocasio-Cortez trip to coal mine Freshman House Dems surge past GOP in money race MORE and Randy WeberRandall (Randy) Keith WeberHouse passes bill expressing support for NATO Texas governor, top lawmakers tell Trump not to use hurricane relief funds to build border wall To protect the environment, Trump should investigate Russian collusion MORE, and Democratic Reps. Sylvia GarciaSylvia GarciaDems visit shelter for migrant children, call it 'chilling' Texas governor, top lawmakers tell Trump not to use hurricane relief funds to build border wall 116th Congress breaks records for women, minority lawmakers MORE, Sheila Jackson LeeSheila Jackson LeeDems attack Barr's credibility after report of White House briefings on Mueller findings O'Rourke sweeps through Virginia looking to energize campaign GOP senators dismiss Booker reparations proposal 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.