The House Appropriations Committee cited its authority as a coequal branch of government in proposing Wednesday to block DOD funding for southern border barrier construction, CQ reported.
According to a panel report accompanying the committee’s draft $108.1 billion fiscal 2020 military construction-VA bill, none of the $7 billion President Trump seeks for border projects was included.
“The Committee believes that Congress must assert its role as a co-equal branch of the federal government and insist upon the regular appropriation of funds — funds this committee has previously appropriated for disaster recovery, flood protection and military base construction projects to maintain and improve military readiness,” the report said.
“The committee believes that military construction dollars should be used only for the purpose they are provided, which is to support DOD’s mission, service members and their families,” the House appropriators wrote.
The House bill explicitly shields military construction programs funded in fiscal 2020 or earlier from being delayed or cancelled due to border projects. It also would add millions to improve health, safety and sanitation at military housing locations nationwide.
Committee approval of the measure is expected Thursday, but the Republican-led Senate Appropriations Committee will craft its own bill later this month, setting up a budget battle later this year.