Defense

Dem proposal to ban Pentagon funds for border wall survives House panel votes

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The House Armed Services Committee early Thursday rejected Republican attempts to remove language from the annual defense policy bill aimed at blocking President Trump’s border wall.

During its markup of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the committee rejected in party-line votes several amendments offered by Republicans related to the border.

“It is an unbelievable waste of resources to address this crisis to spend that money on a wall,” said committee Chairman Adam Smith (D-Wash.). “Second, it’s [Department of Homeland Security], not [Department of Defense]. This money should not come out of the Department of Defense as, by the way, a lot of my Republican colleagues said when this first came up.”

{mosads}The committee did adopt by voice vote an amendment from Rep. Jason Crow (D-Colo.) to prohibit defense funds from being used to house children forcibly separated from their parents.

Trump declared a national emergency in February to be able to dip into military construction funding to build the wall without congressional approval.

The Pentagon has yet to use military construction money on the wall. But under separate executive authority, the Pentagon has moved $2.5 billion from various accounts into its counterdrug account to use for the wall.

The military also has thousands of active-duty and National Guard troops deployed to the border in a support role.

As it stands, the committee’s version of the NDAA would prohibit Pentagon funding from being used on the border wall, make changes to the emergency authority Trump invoked to dip into Pentagon coffers for the wall and modify the authority Trump has used to deploy U.S. troops to the border.

Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Ala.) offered three amendments to strip those provisions.

“I think it’s irresponsible to block this funding,” Rogers said.

Each of his amendments failed in 31-26 votes on party lines.

The NDAA would also prohibit the Pentagon’s counterdrug funds from being used on a wall. An amendment from Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.) would have removed that provision, but failed, 31-26.

Tags Adam Smith Donald Trump Jason Crow Mike Rogers Vicky Hartzler
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