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Schatz, Senate Democrats Introduce New Legislation To Block Trump Border Wall Money Grab

Bill Would Prohibit The Use Of Defense Money To Build President Trump’s Vanity Border Wall And Return The $3.6 Billion That He Has Already Stolen Back To The Military Construction Projects

WASHINGTON  – Today, U.S. Senators Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) announced the Stopping Executive Overreach on Military Appropriations Act (SEOMA) in response to President Trump’s raid of military construction funds in order to build his wasteful wall on the southern U.S. border. The bill would rescind President Trump’s egregious abuse of executive power and prevent future presidents from exercising similar executive overreach in the event of a declaration of a national emergency.

“The president is robbing our military of funds meant for critical construction projects that serve our troops and keep the American people safe,” said Senator Schatz, lead Democrat on the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs. “Our bill will stop this reckless abuse of power and restore funding to the military so that the men and women in our armed forces have the resources they need protect our country.”

“The President’s decision to use a phony emergency declaration to take money away from our servicemembers and their families is a gross abuse of executive power that hurts military families in my state and others, and puts our nation’s security at risk,” said Senator Murray. “We’re taking action to not only reverse President Trump’s reckless decision to ransack funds for critical military priorities and infrastructure projects that help keep our country safe, such as the pier and maintenance facility at Naval Base Kitsap in my home state of Washington, but also to make sure no President going forward can take reckless, harmful steps like this one.”

“President Trump has very clearly attempted to usurp the power of the purse—given exclusively to Congress by the Constitution—by taking funding from military projects we’ve approved and giving it to projects Congress has repeatedly rejected. Not only does this brazen power grab detract from military readiness, it directly affects the wellbeing of service members and their families who already sacrifice so much to defend our liberty. The president’s unscrupulous actions require Democrats and Republicans in Congress to re-assert our constitutional authority and pass legislation barring any future president from abusing emergency powers to divert funds appropriated for our military service members,” said Senator Schumer.

Specifically, the legislation would directly address President Trump’s egregious abuse of executive power—and set a standard to prevent future abuses of executive power—by: 

  • Requiring approval from Congress before the President can redirect military construction funds during a national emergency;
  • Prohibiting defense money from being used to build President Trump’s wasteful border wall;
  • Immediately rescinding the $3.6 billion dollars President Trump raided from military construction funds to divert to his wall, and returning those funds back to their respective projects; and
  • Directing the Office of Government Ethics to review all current and future contracts related to President Trump’s border wall to determine if the President, his family, or his top lieutenants would personally profit from such contracts, or if there is any conflict of interest.

Senators Schatz, Murray, Schumer, Durbin, and Leahy have been vocal opponents of President Trump’s repeated attempts to use federal taxpayer dollars to fund his border wall, as well as his persistent efforts to bypass Congress to do so. Following President Trump’s sham emergency declaration at the southern border in February, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper announced that $3.6 billion dollars of appropriated military construction funds would be diverted to pay for the President’s border wall. This decision affects 127 military construction projects in 26 states and territories, including a nearly $89 million project to construct a critical pier and maintenance facility at Naval Base Kitsap in Washington state, and comes after Congress opted repeatedly, on a bipartisan basis, not to fund President Trump’s request for his border wall.

Text of the legislation can be found here.

A fact sheet on the bill can be found here.