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Democrats introduce bill to reverse Trump's shift of military money toward wall

Democrats introduce bill to reverse Trump's shift of military money toward wall
© Greg Nash

Senate Democrats on Wednesday introduced legislation to reverse President TrumpDonald John TrumpJudge rules to not release Russia probe documents over Trump tweets Trump and advisers considering firing FBI director after election: WaPo Obama to campaign for Biden in Florida MORE's decision to shift billions in military funding toward the U.S.-Mexico border wall and place new limitations on the Pentagon's transfer authority.

The bill would restore the $3.8 billion the Pentagon announced earlier this month that it would shift from various weapons programs to help build about 177 miles of border fencing back to the military accounts.

The bill would also cut the amount of money the Pentagon would have the ability to transfer going forward, in an attempt to prevent the administration from leveraging military funding in the future.

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According to the text of the legislation, it would cut the Pentagon's general transfer authority from $ 4 billion to $1.798 billion. It would also limit the amount of money that could be transferred from a war fund from $2 billion to $371 million.

"This latest reprogramming was not just an attack on Congress’ power of the purse, it was an attack on military readiness. The Senate should reject the President’s money grab and reassert our Constitutionally-granted powers by supporting this legislation," Sen. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinThe Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Goldman Sachs - Pelosi, Mnuchin push stimulus talks forward, McConnell applies brakes Schumer says he had 'serious talk' with Feinstein, declines to comment on Judiciary role Durbin signals he isn't interested in chairing Judiciary Committee MORE (D-Ill.) said in a statement.

Sen. Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahySchumer says he had 'serious talk' with Feinstein, declines to comment on Judiciary role Durbin signals he isn't interested in chairing Judiciary Committee Democrats seem unlikely to move against Feinstein MORE (Vt.), the top Democrat on the Appropriations Committee, added that the bill would "help to restore the Constitutional power of the purse back to Congress and provide Senate Republicans an opportunity to give action to their repeatedly voiced concerns.”

In addition to Durbin and Leahy, 30 additional Senate Democrats are supporting the bill, including Sen. Jack ReedJohn (Jack) Francis ReedOvernight Defense: Armed Services chairman unsold on slashing defense budget | Democratic Senate report details 'damage, chaos' of Trump foreign policy | Administration approves .8B Taiwan arms sales Overnight Defense: Famed Navy SEAL calls Trump out | Yemen's Houthi rebels free two Americans | Marines fire commander after deadly training accident Trump slight against Gold Star families adds to military woes MORE (R.I.), the top Democrat on the Armed Services Committee.

Trump's decision to raid the military accounts to help build the border wall has sparked bipartisan frustration in Congress. 

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House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam SmithDavid (Adam) Adam SmithOvernight Defense: Armed Services chairman unsold on slashing defense budget | Democratic Senate report details 'damage, chaos' of Trump foreign policy | Administration approves .8B Taiwan arms sales Democratic House chairman trusts Pentagon won't follow 'unlawful orders' on election involvement Democratic chairman 'unconvinced' by arguments to slash defense budget, but open to debate MORE (D-Wash.) and Rep. Mac ThornberryWilliam (Mac) McClellan ThornberryOvernight Defense: Armed Services chairman unsold on slashing defense budget | Democratic Senate report details 'damage, chaos' of Trump foreign policy | Administration approves .8B Taiwan arms sales Chamber of Commerce endorses former White House physician Ronny Jackson for Congress Overnight Defense: Senate passes stopgap spending bill hours before shutdown deadline | Brief military mentions in chaotic first Trump, Biden debate | Lawmakers grills Pentagon officials over Germany drawdown MORE (Texas), the top Republican on the committee, rejected the transfer request in a letter this week, though the administration has argued that it doesn't need Congress to sign off. The pair also warned that the Department is "at risk to lose the flexibility Congress has historically granted to effectively manage the resources provided."

Trump also previously declared a national emergency to shift $3.6 billion to the border wall.

Congress has tried twice to end the national emergency but does not have the two-thirds necessary to override a veto.

Democrats are able to force a vote on the national emergency declaration every six months. With the last vote taking place in September, that means they'll be able to force a vote again in mid-March.