House spending bill would block military construction funds for border wall

House spending bill would block military construction funds for border wall
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A draft spending bill introduced Tuesday by House Democrats would prohibit the use of any military construction funds approved since fiscal 2015 to be used for President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump says he doesn't want NYT in the White House Veterans group backs lawsuits to halt Trump's use of military funding for border wall Schiff punches back after GOP censure resolution fails MORE's border wall.

"This year’s funding bill makes tremendous investments in our veterans and military families, rebuilds our national security infrastructure, and soundly rejects President Trump’s attempt to steal funds from our armed services to pay for a nativist, border wall boondoggle," Rep. Debbie Wasserman SchultzDeborah (Debbie) Wasserman SchultzLawmakers from both sides of the aisle mourn Cummings DeLauro enters race to succeed Lowey as Appropriations chief Democrats walk tightrope in fight over Trump wall funds MORE (D-Fla.), chairwoman of the House Appropriations subcommittee in charge of the bill, said in statement.

According to draft bill text, the House’s fiscal 2020 military construction and veterans affairs appropriations bill would prohibit funds from fiscal 2015 through fiscal 2020 from being "obligated, expended or used to design, construct, or carry out a project to construct a wall, barrier, fence, or road along the Southern border of the United States or a road to provide access to a wall, barrier, or fence constructed along the Southern border of the United States."

The legislative text is the latest effort by Democrats to block the Trump administration from dipping into Pentagon coffers to build the president's proposed wall.

Trump declared a national emergency in February to unlock military construction funds to build the wall without congressional approval.

Congress passed a bill to block the emergency declaration, but Trump vetoed it, and the House did not muster the votes to override the veto.

House Democrats have since sued Trump over the emergency declaration.

The administration has said it is eyeing $3.6 billion from the military construction accounts to be used for the wall. The Pentagon has not yet taken money from those accounts and has said it will not touch money meant for military housing or contracts that are scheduled to be awarded this year.

The Pentagon’s fiscal 2020 budget proposal asks for $3.6 billion to backfill the money expected to be used by the emergency declaration as well as another $3.6 billion for any additional construction on the southern border.

The bill released Tuesday would provide $10.5 billion for military construction and $217.5 billion for veterans affairs.

The military construction funding includes $2 billion to rebuild military bases battered by Hurricane Michael and Hurricane Florence.

The measure also includes $1.5 billion for military housing — $117.8 million below the fiscal 2019 level but $140.8 million above the administration’s request. The committee went higher than the request to address widespread issues in military housing, such as mold, vermin and lead, according to a bill summary from Democrats.

The subcommittee is scheduled to consider the bill on Wednesday.