The battle over the southern border of the United States is continuing this week. House Democrats have now released their spending proposal for the Department of Homeland Security for the upcoming fiscal year beginning this fall, and the bill includes not a single cent in funding for President Donald Trump’s long-sought wall blocking off Mexico. In their budget proposal for the next fiscal year that was released earlier this year, the Trump administration had requested more than $8 billion more in funding for wall construction.
House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) explained of the new DHS funding bill’s aims:
‘This includes upholding the rights and dignity of migrants, protecting against attempts by the Trump administration to steal funds from measures that actually keep us safe for a vanity border wall, and providing no funding for additional Border Patrol agents and checkpoints or border barriers.’
The Homeland Security funding bill is not the only one in House Democrats’ package for the upcoming fiscal year that completely steamrolls the Trump administration’s wall efforts. Their bill covering defense spending explicitly forbids any military money from going towards the construction of Trump’s wall, which the president is continuing to try and make happen. In addition, another 2020 spending bill prevents forfeited government funds from getting funneled into Trump’s wall project.
House Democrats largely unsurprising but still substantive rejection of the Trump administration’s push could be laying the groundwork for another battle over keeping the federal government open with any funding at all once fall rolls around. At the end of the last calendar year and beginning of this one, Trump refused for awhile to approve any further funding for a wide swath of government agencies unrelated to the border without the money that he wanted for his wall.
After more than a month of hundreds of thousands of government workers struggling through getting no pay, Trump caved and approved funding without wall money, but he promptly rushed to declaring a national emergency over the situation at the southern border in an effort to use subsequent power to redirect already appropriated military funds towards wall construction.
In the time since, billions of dollars in military funds have been marked for usage for Trump’s wall. Besides dialing down the ability of the military to even redirect funds at all in their defense spending bill for next year, House Democrats have also launched a lawsuit against the reappropriation of funds, but this past week, a Trump-appointed judge rejected their request for a preliminary injunction blocking the construction. District Court Judge Trevor McFadden argued that Congress had other means to respond to a perceived injustice and the courts lacked the appropriate authority to intervene in this instance.
Despite the setback, that’s not the only lawsuit against the Trump administration’s overall plans to redirect government money to the wall. In May, an Oakland area federal judge handed down a temporary injunction blocking the construction of some specific planned border barrier, and the Trump administration is now seeking an emergency stay from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to allow them to move forward anyway. They argue that if there’s much more of a delay, the money could be lost forever at the end of the current fiscal year — and House Democrats’ funding bills certainly establish the basis for that concern.
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