Senate Democrats seek to block Trump bid to fund wall with emergency funds

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate’s top Democrat intends to force a vote to block President Donald Trump from using special emergency powers to transfer money from military base construction projects like new schools to pay for new fences along the U.S.-Mexico border.

That’s according to prepared remarks Tuesday by Sen. Chuck Schumer, who says the vote would give lawmakers a chance to block Trump “from stealing military funding from their states to foot the bill for an expensive and ineffective wall he promised Mexico would pay for.”

A similar measure passed this spring with 12 Senate Republican votes but was vetoed by Trump. The rules allow Schumer to retry every few months and don’t allow Republicans to block the vote.

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The Pentagon last week identified $3.6 billion worth of military construction projects it’s willing to kill to build 175 miles (282 kilometers) of border wall. The projects included a $63 million middle school in GOP Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s state of Kentucky though most of them are located outside the continental U.S.

“This rises to a large and vital constitutional issue: Does our country truly have checks and balances, particularly important when we have such an overreaching president?” Schumer stated.

Trump says a wall would stop immigrants from entering the United States illegally. He promised repeatedly during his 2016 presidential campaign that Mexico would pay for the wall, but Mexico refused.

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