Durbin, Senate Democrats Introduce New Legislation To Block President Trump's Border Wall Money Grab

Legislation Would Prohibit The Use Of Defense Money To Build President Trump’s Border Wall, And Would Rescind The $3.6 Billion That He Has Already Diverted From Military Construction Projects

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), Ranking Member of the Senate Appropriations Defense Subcommittee and Senate Judiciary Immigration Subcommittee, along with Senators Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Patty Murray (D-WA), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), and Brian Schatz (D-HI), today announced the Stopping Executive Overreach on Military Appropriations (SEOMA) Act in response to President Donald Trump’s diversion of military construction funds in order to build his ineffective 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. 

“President Trump continues to divert money meant for our service members and their families and use it to fulfill a campaign promise.  The distinction between working for our country and using the powers of government for one’s personal, political interest is being eroded day by day.  And the resulting damage to our military and to the Appropriations Committee’s constitutional authority continues to accumulate,” Durbin said.  “It has to stop.  And it can stop, if my colleagues on the other side of the aisle join Senate Democrats to reassert their obligations under the Constitution and provide our military families with certainty that they haven’t been pushed aside for an ineffective border wall.”

Specifically, the legislation would directly address President Trump’s egregious abuse of executive power—and set a 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 diverted from military construction and to his wall; 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.

Senator Durbin has been a vocal opponent 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, and comes after Congress opted repeatedly, on a bipartisan basis, not to fund President Trump’s border wall.

Text of the legislation can be found here.

A fact sheet on the bill can be found here.