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

Senate Democrats are trying to prevent President TrumpDonald John TrumpMulvaney: 'We've overreacted a little bit' to coronavirus Former CBS News president: Most major cable news outlets 'unrelentingly liberal' in 'fear and loathing' of Trump An old man like me should be made more vulnerable to death by COVID-19 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 DurbinSenators weigh traveling amid coronavirus ahead of Memorial Day Congress headed toward unemployment showdown Senate to try to pass fix for Paycheck Protection Program Thursday 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 UdallDHS watchdog to investigate COVID-19 cases in ICE detention facilities Hispanic Caucus makes major ad buy for New Mexico Democratic candidate for House Senate votes to reauthorize intel programs with added legal protections MORE (N.M.), Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyThis week: Surveillance fight sets early test for House's proxy voting The House impeachment inquiry loses another round — and yes, that's still going on Hillicon Valley: Trump threatens Michigan, Nevada over mail-in voting | Officials call for broadband expansion during pandemic | Democrats call for investigation into Uber-Grubhub deal MORE (Vt.), Brian SchatzBrian Emanuel SchatzThe Hill's Campaign Report: Democrats slam Trump for threatening to hold Michigan funds Senate votes to reauthorize intel programs with added legal protections Coronavirus drives record number of complaints to consumer bureau MORE (Hawaii), Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) TesterThe 10 Senate seats most likely to flip Memorial Day during COVID-19: How to aid our country's veterans Senate votes to reauthorize intel programs with added legal protections MORE (Mont.) and Chris MurphyChristopher (Chris) Scott MurphySenators weigh traveling amid coronavirus ahead of Memorial Day Congress eyes changes to small business pandemic aid Top Democrat to introduce bill to limit Trump's ability to fire IGs 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.