Presidential Veto Sets Up Long Fight Over Border Wall Funding
By Jennifer G. Hickey | March 21, 2019
The question of President Trump’s authority to veto of H.J. Res. 46, a joint resolution that would terminate the presidential declaration of a national emergency and bar him from authorizing certain military funds for border wall construction, is certainly headed for the courts. In the meantime, the issue of appropriating funds for the wall will remain on Congress’ front burner for the foreseeable future.
Last week, Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan released to Congress a fact sheet detailing the authorized military construction projects subject to being canceled, reduced, or raided in order to reallocate $3.6 billion to finance President Trump’s border wall.
The Pentagon noted that any project which received an award date prior to September 2019 would also be spared. Given those restrictions, about two-thirds of the $12.8 billion list of identified projects are exempt.
The release only fueled the fire that was coming from Senate Democrats last week when they grilled Shanahan about the Pentagon’s budget. It is a drama which will be showcased again when the secretary appears March 26 before the House Armed Services Committee with General Joseph F. Dunford, U.S. Marine Corps.
House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith (D-WA) issued a statement presaging his intentions.
“We take our oversight role very seriously, and will act as necessary to defend Congress’ Constitutional prerogatives in this matter,” he said, adding he was looking forward to questioning Shanahan about “how he intends to pilfer the military construction accounts, circumvent the intended nature of the law, while simultaneously abusing the trust of the American people.”
The funding battle, however, will also take place outside of the Beltway as towns and cities around potentially impacted projects weigh in. The mere issuance of the identified projects list by the Pentagon triggered the “what will happen to us” question from South Carolina to New Jersey.
FAIR will continue to provide updates on developments on Capitol Hill and in the courts regarding the border wall.