Menendez, Booker, Colleagues Introduce Bill to Prevent President Trump from Using Emergency Declaration to Raid Funds for Border Wall

Menendez, Booker, Colleagues Introduce Bill to Prevent President Trump from Using Emergency Declaration to Raid Funds for Border Wall

RAIDER Act of 2019 would stop Trump from bypassing Congress and potentially raiding millions of dollars from NJ military bases

   

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Bob Menendez and Cory Booker today joined their colleagues in introducing legislation that would prevent President Trump from utilizing the National Emergencies Act of 1976 to raid critical military construction and disaster response funds to construct a wall along the southern border. President Trump has repeatedly threatened to declare a national emergency to bypass Congress and finance construction of his border wall, and recent press reports indicate a declaration is being drafted in the White House.

“As the President continues to spout lies about our challenges at the southern border as an excuse to build an ineffective, wasteful wall while he considers declaring a non-existent national emergency, Congress must do everything it can to protect vital projects in our nation’s defense,” said Sen. Menendez. “And there’s no way I’m going to let Trump raid funds to make New Jersey more resilient to flooding or for New Jersey military installations and construction projects—including Joint Base McGuire Dix Lakehurst and Picatinny Arsenal--to pay for it.”

The Restrictions Against Illegitimate Declarations for Emergency Re-appropriations (RAIDER) Act of 2019 would bar the transfer of any funding from U.S. Army Corps of Engineers or Military Construction accounts for construction, land acquisition or other activities related to President Trump’s border wall following any potential emergency declaration, unless Congress granted specific authority to do so.  While the Administration has not released precise figures, some estimates indicate there could be as much as $35 billion in unobligated funding appropriated by Congress for DOD military construction projects and Army Corps disaster funds at risk from an emergency declaration move. Congress appropriates funding for Army Corps of Engineers’ projects with the intention that enough funding will be available to execute contracts to carry out the scope of work in a given fiscal year.   

In the FY18 Omnibus Appropriations bill, Sens Menendez and Booker secured $146 million in military construction funding for the Join Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst to build hangars for the new KC-46 air refueling tankers. The ground breaking ceremony for the new hangars recently took place on December 3, 2018. Additionally, the FY19 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations bill included $41 million to construct a Munitions Disassembly Complex at Picatinny Arsenal. Last year, Sen. Menendez and U.S. Secretary of the Navy Richard V. Spencer toured Picatinny Arsenal and Lakehurst Navy Base to highlight vastly important work being done at both sites.

In a bipartisan federal spending bill that passed last year, $87 million in Army Corp funding was secured for several New Jersey projects that would protect New Jersey communities from flooding and prevent coastal storm damage, and continued investments in New Jersey waterways and the NY/NJ Harbor.