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

Senate Democrats are trying to prevent President TrumpDonald John TrumpLiz Cheney: 'Send her back' chant 'inappropriate' but not about race, gender Booker: Trump is 'worse than a racist' Top Democrat insists country hasn't moved on from Mueller 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 DurbinDemocrats pledge to fight Trump detention policy during trip to border Dems open to killing filibuster in next Congress Democrats warm to idea of studying reparations 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 UdallDems open to killing filibuster in next Congress House passes bill to crack down on toxic 'forever chemicals' Overnight Energy: Trump threatens veto on defense bill that targets 'forever chemicals' | Republicans form conservation caucus | Pressure mounts against EPA's new FOIA rule MORE (N.M.), Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyPoll: McConnell is most unpopular senator Democrats grill USDA official on relocation plans that gut research staff Lawmakers pay tribute to late Justice Stevens MORE (Vt.), Brian SchatzBrian Emanuel SchatzDem senator describes 'overcrowded quarters,' 'harsh odor' at border facilities Warren introduces bill targeted at food insecurity on college campuses On The Money: Senators unload on Facebook cryptocurrency | Tech giants on defensive at antitrust hearing | Democrats ask Labor Department to investigate Amazon warehouses MORE (Hawaii), Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) TesterPoll: McConnell is most unpopular senator Trump nominees meet fiercest opposition from Warren, Sanders, Gillibrand The Hill's 12:30 Report: Pelosi looks to squash fight with progressives MORE (Mont.) and Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphyThe Hill's Morning Report: Trump walks back from 'send her back' chants Overnight Health Care — Presented by PCMA — Health care moves to center stage of Democratic primary fight | Sanders, Biden trade sharps jabs on Medicare for All | Senate to vote on 9/11 bill next week | Buttigieg pushes for cheaper insulin Health care moves to center stage in Democratic primary fight 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.