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 TrumpKinzinger says Trump 'winning' because so many Republicans 'have remained silent' Our remote warfare counterterrorism strategy is more risk than reward Far-right rally draws small crowd, large police presence at Capitol 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 CornynDemocrats make case to Senate parliamentarian for 8 million green cards Democrats to make pitch Friday for pathway to citizenship in spending bill Without major changes, more Americans could be victims of online crime MORE and Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzSunday shows preview: Coronavirus dominates as country struggles with delta variant More than 10,000 migrants await processing under bridge in Texas Senators slow Biden with holds at Pentagon, State MORE.

Twenty House lawmakers from the state signed on to the letter, including GOP Reps. Kevin BradyKevin Patrick BradyHouse panel advances key portion of Democrats' .5T bill LIVE COVERAGE: Ways and Means to conclude work on .5T package LIVE COVERAGE: Tax hikes take center stage in Ways and Means markup MORE, Dan CrenshawDaniel CrenshawGOP seeks Biden referendum over vaccine mandates The Memo: Biden comes out punching on COVID-19 The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by AT&T - Texas's near abortion ban takes effect MORE and Randy WeberRandall (Randy) Keith Weber'I want to cry': House Republicans take emotional trip to the border Roy introduces bill blocking Chinese Communist Party members from buying US land Texas Republicans condemn state Democrats for response to official calling Scott an 'Oreo' MORE, and Democratic Reps. Sylvia GarciaSylvia GarciaOvernight Energy & Environment — Presented by Climate Power — Manchin: key energy provision of spending package 'makes no sense' Six moderate Democrats raise concerns about spending bill's energy measures Democrats introduce equal pay legislation for US national team athletes MORE, Sheila Jackson LeeSheila Jackson LeeAngelina Jolie spotted in Capitol meeting with senators Elon Musk after Texas Gov. Abbott invokes him: 'I would prefer to stay out of politics' Without major changes, more Americans could be victims of online 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.