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Land Seizures, Military Construction, Marine Corps Readiness: The High Cost of Trump’s Wall

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Tuesday House Override Vote on Emergency Declaration Another Chance for GOP Lawmakers to get on the Right Side of History and the Constitution

Tomorrow, the House of Representatives is again scheduled to vote on the resolution to block President Trump’s emergency declaration, this time giving lawmakers the chance to go on record with whether to override Trump’s veto or support his manufactured crisis and accompanying power and land grab.

In just the week-plus since the last set of congressional votes about Trump’s attempt to circumvent Congress and declare a national emergency, we’ve witnessed fresh reminders about why the power grab is so damaging. In addition to the real and continued constitutional concerns at issue, below are three recent developments since Congress last voted on the topic that underscore the real consequences at stake ahead of tomorrow’s vote:

  • Pentagon releases list of state and local military construction projects, including schools for military kids, that could be raided for wall funding. The Pentagon location-specific list of $12.9 billion worth of military construction projects that could be raided by the Trump administration for wall construction generated deserved attention and outrage. Among the particularly egregious examples of what could be raided included reminder from Reuters that,Trump’s border wall money may come at expense of schools for military kids,” and the Washington Post focus on the potential harm to Puerto Rico’s military schools, much-needed base repairs and training programs and the hit European allies would take when funding would be slashed for programs that help deter and check Russia’s influence.
  • Marine Corps’ readiness being harmed by deployment to border and related focus on manufactured crisis. As a Los Angeles Times story,  “Marine Corps commandant says deploying troops to the border poses ‘unacceptable risk,’” noted, “The commandant of the Marines has warned the Pentagon that deployments to the southwest border and funding transfers under the president’s emergency declaration, among other unexpected demands, have posed “unacceptable risk to Marine Corps combat readiness and solvency.” In two internal memos, Marine Corps Gen. Robert Neller said the “unplanned/unbudgeted” deployment along the border that President Trump ordered last fall, and shifts of other funds to support border security, had forced him to cancel or reduce planned military training in at least five countries, and delay urgent repairs at bases.” The commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard made a similar appeal last week in the wake of reprogramming of funds to immigration enforcement and the lingering effects of the government shutdown..
  • Federal government advancing towards the Texas land seizures necessary for border wall construction. Last week, we highlighted reports that 570 Texas private landowners have started to receive “right-of-entry” letters from the federal government seeking to survey their land for possible border wall construction.

According to Pili Tobar, Deputy Director of America’s Voice, “In the short time since Congress last voted on this, we’ve already seen fresh reminders about the high cost and collateral damage associated with supporting Trump’s fake emergency power grab. This is a manufactured crisis borne out of the failed policies of this administration and motivated by politics and Trump’s re-election concerns. Now it’s time for Republican lawmakers to decide whether their loyalty to Trump overrides their support for the constitution, private landowners, military readiness and construction projects, and basic interests and stated preferences of the American people.”