Bill would safeguard Michigan military, Army Corps funding

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), co-Chair of the Senate Great Lakes Task Force, introduced the Restrictions Against Illegitimate Declarations for Emergency Re-appropriations (RAIDER) Act of 2019.

This legislation prevents the president from utilizing the National Emergencies Act of 1976 to raid any funding from U.S. Army Corps of Engineers or Military Construction accounts for construction, land acquisition, or other activities related to President’s Trump’s border wall following any potential emergency declaration, unless Congress granted specific authority to do so.

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. Under the National Emergencies Act, the funds most at risk of being misdirected to build the president’s wall are U.S. Army Corps of Engineers civil works funds and Military Construction funding.

This could take 2019 funds away from vital Michigan infrastructure priorities including the construction of a new Poe-sized Soo Lock, efforts to stop Asian carp, as well as support for 26 dredging projects within the Great Lakes.

“An emergency declaration by President Trump would divert critical funding away from Michigan,” said Senator Stabenow. “Our bill would make sure that Michigan priorities like the Soo Locks, dredging of our harbors, and stopping Asian carp aren’t zeroed out for President Trump’s unnecessary wall.”

Recently, Senator Stabenow wrote a letter to the Army Corps of Engineers asking for assurances that no funding would be reallocated for construction of a border wall. In a written response, the Army Corps provided no assurances.

The RAIDER Act is cosponsored by U.S. Senators Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Jack Reed (D-R.I.).

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