A Democratic lawmaker lashed out at House Republicans on Wednesday, accusing them of pushing a “sneaky gimmick” that could result in military funding being poured into President Donald Trump’s wall on the US-Mexico border.
“This rule is a travesty,” said Rep. Ruben Gallego of Arizona. “If we vote to approve it, an amendment unanimously supported by the Armed Services committee … to prevent President Trump from using our military’s money to build his border wall, will suddenly vanish.”
“It’s a legislative magic trick, a sneaky gimmick designed to disguise their actions,” Gallego said. “Once again, Speaker Ryan and the House Republicans are doing President Trump’s dirty work.”
The latest amendment, made by Republican Reps. Steven Palazzo and Trent Kelly, was approved by the House Rules Committee Tuesday evening, in the form of a self-executing amendment, according to Politico. The amendment would automatically remove Gallego’s own amendment from the National Defence Authorization Act’s bill, which is being debated by the House.
So far, lawmakers have taken advantage of the opportunity to submit their NDAA amendments, over 400 thus far, which is considered to be a crucial piece of legislation due to its $US696 billion budget that spans a vast spectrum of US policies.
“They didn’t have the courage to pose my amendment in committee, or even on the House floor,” Gallego continued. “They passed this rule late at night with hardly anyone watching, in typical Republican fashion. Republicans are resorting to deceptive legislative tactics to do Trump’s bidding, just for his small fragile ego.”
Gallego, a US Marine Corps veteran, continued to declaim the efficacy and the costs of building a US-Mexico border wall: “Just six months into this administration, it’s already abundantly clear that Mexico won’t pay for Trump’s stupid, dumb border wall. We must not allow precious resources to be robbed from our troops simply to score political points for Trump’s ego.”
Trump’s plans to build a wall between the US and Mexico has hit multiple bipartisan waves of criticism due to its cost and, to some degree, the symbolism that it evokes. An April report from Senate Democrats estimated that the wall would cost nearly $US70 billion and $US150 million a year for upkeep. A Homeland Security report; however, estimated the wall would cost $US21.6 billion, without maintenance fees, according to The New York Times.
Gallego continued to explain why he believed channeling funds from the NDAA was an ill-advised manoeuvre: “It was simply to ensure [Department of Defence] resources aren’t siphoned off for a pointless wall that we don’t need and can’t afford,” he said. “We have a … responsibility to ensure that money meant to address real national security challenges isn’t diverted to combat imaginary ones that the president has created.”
Watch Rep. Gallego’s comments here:
Republicans used a sneaky gimmick to allow Trump to take $$ from our troops to pay for his ridiculous border wall. Watch me call them out. pic.twitter.com/1RQ9z3Or4m
— Ruben Gallego (@RepRubenGallego) July 12, 2017