Senate Democrats demand wall-free spending allocation

Senate Democrats demand wall-free spending allocation
© Greg Nash

Leading Senate Democrats on Tuesday demanded that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellKey House and Senate health leaders reach deal to stop surprise medical bills Biden: 'No party should have too much power' Overnight Energy: Pelosi vows bold action to counter 'existential' climate threat | Trump jokes new light bulbs don't make him look as good | 'Forever chemicals' measure pulled from defense bill MORE (R-Ky.) negotiate spending allocations to exclude as much as $12 billion in funding for President TrumpDonald John TrumpLawmakers prep ahead of impeachment hearing Democrats gear up for high-stakes Judiciary hearing Warren says she made almost M from legal work over past three decades MORE’s border wall.

“Democrats have long made clear that we will not support appropriations bills that include these funding allocations,” said a letter to McConnell spearheaded by Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerOvernight Health Care — Presented by Johnson & Johnson — Democrats call on Supreme Court to block Louisiana abortion law | Michigan governor seeks to pause Medicaid work requirements | New front in fight over Medicaid block grants House, Senate Democrats call on Supreme Court to block Louisiana abortion law Why a second Trump term and a Democratic Congress could be a nightmare scenario for the GOP MORE (D-N.Y.) and top Democratic appropriators.

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“At a time when the majority of Americans who need and seek opioids treatment cannot get it, we should not be wasting money on an ineffective border wall,” the letter continued.

Democrats contend that Republicans siphoned $5 billion in direct funding for the wall from a bill that deals with health, and have added another $7.2 billion to military accounts that Trump has reprogrammed for the wall.

They are demanding restrictions on the funds to block Trump from redirecting them toward the wall under a state of emergency.

On Thursday, Democrats on the Senate Appropriations Committee voted against the GOP-proposed plan to divvy up the funds, as well as the defense spending bill, signaling that the bills would not be able to move on the Senate floor.

McConnell is mulling bringing the defense bill to the floor to force Democrats into a tough vote.

“Whatever rationale my colleagues across the aisle may offer for these new disruptions, let’s get one thing straight: holding defense funding hostage for political gain is a losing strategy,” he said Thursday morning.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Richard ShelbyRichard Craig ShelbyDemocrats open door to repealing ObamaCare tax in spending talks On The Money: Economy adds 266K jobs in strong November | Lawmakers sprint to avoid shutdown | Appropriators to hold crucial talks this weekend | Trump asks Supreme Court to halt Deutsche Bank subpoenas Appropriators face crucial weekend to reach deal MORE (R-Ala.) seemed to endorse the strategy.

“Put them on record voting against defense,” he said. “I would be very reluctant as a Democrat to vote against a motion to proceed on defense.”

Amid the discord, the House was set to take up a stopgap funding measure to keep the government running in the new fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1.