Three Bills Take Aim at Trump Executive Action and New Border Wall Funding

Washington, DC – On Thursday,  Congressman Filemon Vela filed a series of bills aimed at President Trump’s national emergency declaration and new congressional funding of 55 miles of wall in the Rio Grande Valley. 

Representative Vela introduced the Restrictions Against Illegitimate Declarations for Emergency Re-appropriations (RAIDER) Act of 2019 (H.R. 1293) which would prohibit the transfer of funds from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Military Construction (MilCon), and other accounts to construct border barriers, even under an emergency declaration per the National Emergencies Act of 1976.  

“The President’s national emergency declaration is a ploy to bypass Congress  and the Constitution to fund his border wall.  The Constitution is clear: ‘No money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in consequence of appropriations made by law,’” said Representative Vela.  “By President Trump’s own admission, his actions were not based on an actual national security emergency.” 

“President Trump’s actions threaten not only the Constitutionally-mandated balance of power, the very basis of our democracy, but he actually risks our national security.  Taking billions in funds designated for military construction projects and flood-control and infrastructure projects at waterways and ports will harm the military’s mission and put communities at risk.  Draining the accounts that fund Resaca restoration, improvements at the Port of Brownsville, and training facilities at Naval Air Station Kingsville, the Corpus Christi Army Depot and Naval Air Station Corpus Christi will have a direct impact on South Texas military installations and communities.  The ripple effect of this action will resonate throughout every congressional district in the Country."

The RAIDER Act of 2019 is the House companion bill to Senator Udall’s S.326 bill.  Original cosponsors of the bill include Assistant Speaker Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico and Representative Juan Vargas of California. 

Two other bills filed simultaneously by Representative Vela and Representative Val Demings of Florida were filed to protect  private landowners whose property rights have been trampled by Trump’s Border wall push. Vela’s Preventing the Taking of Americans’ Land to Build Trump’s Wall Act (H.R. 1234) would require fair compensation for landowners whose land is to be seized by the government for the construction of the border wall. In related legislation joined by Vela, Congresswoman Demings filed a bill directing the Department of Homeland Security to set up a $20 million fund for legal services for low-income landowners whose property the Federal government wants to take for barrier construction. 

Vela added, “the border wall threatens the rights of landowners all along our southern border. The Federal government can currently seize private land and simply promise future compensation. Often, private property owners don’t see that money for years. These bills bar such practices and prohibit the Federal government from taking a private citizen’s land until the landowner receives payment that he or she accepts as just compensation.”  

To view the bill text, click here