House Again Rejects Trump’s Border Emergency

WASHINGTON — Congress voted on Friday to terminate the national emergency that President Trump has declared at the southwestern border, delivering a bipartisan rebuke of his efforts to redirect federal money to a border wall without congressional approval.

The resolution of disapproval — the second time in two months that Congress has rejected Mr. Trump’s scheme to allocate large sums for a border barrier over lawmakers’ objections — fell short of its goal. With only 11 Republicans joining House Democrats in supporting it, the measure did not draw the two-thirds majority that would have been needed to overcome a veto. The Senate, which passed the measure this week, also did not muster a veto-proof majority.

But the action underscored the continuing struggle between Mr. Trump and Congress over his signature political promise and domestic priority, a symbol of an immigration agenda that has divided the country and the two political parties.

“The president had said Mexico will pay for his wall, not military families,” said Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California. “The administration’s decision also dishonors the Constitution by negating its most fundamental principle: the separation of powers. It’s an assault on our power of the purse.”

The 236-to-174 tally mirrored the vote taken seven months ago, when lawmakers first tried to undo Mr. Trump’s national emergency declaration. Representative Justin Amash of Michigan, who left the Republican Party in the months since, again voted to block the declaration.

Lawmakers can force a vote on the issue every six months, and Democrats have been using the opportunity to pressure Republicans to choose repeatedly between protecting their own powers of the purse and backing the president’s use of executive authority to steer more money than Congress has been willing to devote to the border wall.

Republicans argued on Friday that Congress had forced the president’s hand by refusing to allocate funds to the barrier, with Representative Mark Meadows of North Carolina, a close ally of the president’s, arguing “this has nothing to do with really legislating.”

But Democrats, armed with a list of 127 military construction projects set to lose money under the declaration, accused their colleagues of prioritizing the border wall over their constituents and their constitutional prerogatives to allocate spending.

The $3.6 billion list of projects, which the Pentagon unveiled this month, includes military facilities in nearly half the 50 states, as well as three territories and 19 foreign countries. While military officials have stressed that the projects will see their funds delayed, Congress could replace the money in upcoming spending legislation and an annual defense policy bill.

Democrats have called that alternative a nonstarter, while Republicans have argued that Congress has an obligation to ensure that the projects continue without delay.

Mr. Trump on Friday signed a short-term spending bill that would prevent a lapse in funding on Oct. 1, leaving the broader issues of whether to pay for both border wall and diverted military funding unresolved.

In budget requests submitted to Congress over the past couple of years, the Pentagon has warned of critical consequences if the projects are not addressed. Here, according to some of those documents reviewed and obtained by The New York Times, are some of the warnings.

Fort Campbell, the sprawling Army base along the Kentucky-Tennessee border, was slated to receive a renovated middle school. Pentagon officials warned that if $62.6 million was not dedicated to the construction of the new school, the “deficient, inadequate and undersized facilities” would continue to “impair the overall education program for students.”

Roughly $11 million was slated to replace a fire station at the Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort in South Carolina, where officials warned that it was a “significantly undersized and unsafe facility” and that it was possible that there could be serious injuries and casualties if the building collapsed. Since the facility’s construction in 1959, only minor repairs have been made.

At Hill Air Force Base in Utah, officials had asked for $28 million in order to ensure that “two dilapidated WWII era warehouses” would no longer be used as mission control and air traffic control centers. Because they are working in “aging dilapidated buildings that were never intended for the purpose they are now serving,” military officials on the base have had to contend with “roof leaks from failing asbestos panel roofing systems” and aging lighting and electrical wiring.

Officials had asked for funds for a new child care center at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, which they said needed to accommodate about 165 children and staff. The current facility “has suffered from sewage backups, heating, ventilation and air conditioning failures and mold and pest management issues.”

“Quality of life will be severely degraded,” officials said of the base, which also is responsible for housing Air Force One. “Airmen and their families will not have a safe and nurturing environment for child care.”

At Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida, which suffered damage during Hurricane Michael in 2018, officials had asked for funds to construct a new fire station to replace the existing one, which had been built in 1965. The facility’s inadequacy, officials warned, “will continue to degrade emergency response,” and “cramped and austere living conditions” for firefighters would most likely result in retention problems.

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