Trump plan to shift $7.2B to border wall puts GOP lawmakers in a pickle

Source: Politico | January 14, 2020 | Caitlin Emma and Jennifer Scholtes

President Donald Trump has put his Republican comrades in another politically tricky position as they await his latest attempt to snub Congress in shifting billions of dollars toward the border wall.

Even some GOP legislators who say they back the U.S.-Mexico barrier are lamenting reports that the president is plotting to reprogram $7.2 billion. Although the Trump administration has not confirmed the plan, the Washington Post reported Monday that the administration intends to shift that cash from military construction projects and efforts to combat drug smuggling.

“I wish they’d get the money somewhere else, instead of defense,” Senate Appropriations Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) told reporters on Tuesday. “But I do support building the wall. And I support funding money directly … to help the president.“

The chairman said “nobody should be too surprised,” however, that Trump intends to redirect the money, considering congressional Democrats agreed to forgo a ban on that kind of reprogramming in the funding bills Trump signed in late December.

Republicans in both the House and Senate have already been forced to vote twice over the last year to overturn Trump’s previous emergency order to shift $3.6 billion in military construction funds toward the border wall. While the president promptly vetoed those rebukes, the votes caused discomfort for GOP lawmakers torn between supporting Trump and delaying projects that benefit military families in their home states.

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