Democrats aim to block defense money from being used on Trump border wall

Senate Democrats are trying to prevent President TrumpDonald John TrumpMost Americans break with Trump on Ukraine, but just 45 percent think he should be removed: poll Judge orders Democrats to give notice if they request Trump's NY tax returns Trump's doctor issues letter addressing 'speculation' about visit to Walter Reed MORE from being able to redirect Defense Department funding to construction of his border wall.

Democrats filed an amendment, spearheaded by Sen. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinGOP divided over impeachment trial strategy Democratic senators introduce bill to push ICE to stop 'overuse' of solitary confinement Pentagon watchdog declines to investigate hold on Ukraine aid MORE (D-Ill.), to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would prohibit Trump from using national defense funds authorized by the mammoth policy bill toward the U.S.-Mexico border wall.

The amendment would also prohibit Trump from using national defense funds authorized between fiscal years 2015 and 2019 as part of the NDAA, an annual measure that outlines broad policy and spending guidelines for the Pentagon.

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The amendment is supported by Democratic Sens. Tom UdallThomas (Tom) Stewart UdallBureau of Land Management staff face relocation or resignation as agency moves west Overnight Energy: EPA watchdog slams agency chief after deputy fails to cooperate in probe | Justices wrestle with reach of Clean Water Act | Bipartisan Senate climate caucus grows Hillicon Valley: Twitter to refuse all political ads | Trump camp blasts 'very dumb' decision | Ocasio-Cortez hails move | Zuckerberg doubles down on Facebook's ad policies | GOP senator blocks sweeping election reform bill MORE (N.M.), Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyMichelle Obama presents Lin-Manuel Miranda with National Portrait Award Congress hunts for path out of spending stalemate This week: House kicks off public phase of impeachment inquiry MORE (Vt.), Brian SchatzBrian Emanuel SchatzCongress should lift the ban on medical cannabis access for military veterans Booker introduces bill banning facial recognition tech in public housing Senate Democrat: Colleague was working on fantasy football trade instead of listening to Schumer MORE (Hawaii), Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) TesterTester: Our forefathers would not have tolerated Trump asking Ukraine to investigate Biden The Hill's Morning Report - Fallout from day one of Trump impeachment hearing Veterans face growing threat from online disinformation MORE (Mont.) and Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphyLawmakers spar over upcoming Sondland testimony Johnson: Whistleblower 'exposed things that didn't need to be exposed' Sunday shows — Spotlight shifts to Sondland ahead of impeachment inquiry testimony MORE (Conn.). Leahy is the top Democrat on the Senate Appropriations Committee, while Tester is the ranking member on the panel's Department of Homeland Security subcommittee.

The amendment is one of hundreds that senators have filed to the Senate's version of the NDAA, which lawmakers are expected to start debating this week.

Democrats face an uphill battle getting their amendment to the floor for a vote, given the GOP majority in the chamber.

But the amendment is in line with a similar provision in the House version of the NDAA, which the House Armed Services Committee advanced last week, signaling a fight over Trump using Pentagon funds for the border wall is likely to be a sticking point as both chambers move to reconcile their competing proposals.
 
Trump declared a national emergency in February to allow him to dip into military construction funding to build the wall without congressional approval. So far, the Pentagon has yet to use military construction money on the wall, but it has moved $2.5 billion from various accounts into its counterdrug account to use for the wall.
 
The Senate's NDAA currently includes the administration’s request for $3.6 billion to “back fill” money the White House diverted from the military construction account as part of Trump's national emergency declaration to build part of the U.S.-Mexico border wall. It does not include the administration’s request for an additional $3.6 billion in wall funding.