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Democrats target Trump's border wall in defense bill debate

Democrats target Trump's border wall in defense bill debate
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Democrats targeted President TrumpDonald TrumpTrump State Department appointee arrested in connection with Capitol riot Intelligence community investigating links between lawmakers, Capitol rioters Michelle Obama slams 'partisan actions' to 'curtail access to ballot box' MORE’s plans for a Mexican border wall Wednesday with an amendment to the House Armed Services Committee’s annual defense policy bill that would bar Pentagon funding from being used for the wall.

Democrats framed the vote on the amendment as a vote for or against the wall, though the committee chairman refused to allow the committee to be dragged into that debate.

“There is nothing in this bill that has anything to do with a wall on the border,” Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) said. “I kind of think we all just say, ‘Yup,’ and we go on, rather than spend the next hour talking about things that are not in the bill and not in the committee’s jurisdiction.”

The committee obliged Thornberry with three rapid-fire voice votes approving the amendment.

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The language ultimately passed was introduced by Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas). The amendment was originally introduced by Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Calif.), but Rep. Steve Knight (R-Calif.) introduced a substitute to Gallego’s amendment, and then O’Rourke introducing a perfecting amendment to Knight’s.

Gallego defended his amendment by arguing that Trump might look to Pentagon funding when he cannot convince Mexico to pay for his proposed wall, as he’s promised.

“With Mexico refusing to entertain this absurd policy and with no direct appropriation from Congress, President Trump is going to get desperate at some point, if he’s not already,” Gallego said.

“Make no mistake, a vote against this amendment is a vote to build the wall,” he added later. “It’s a vote to waste your constituent tax dollars and our military’s precious resources. More importantly, it’s a vote to endorse Donald Trump’s extreme immigration policies.”