House Fails to Override Trump’s Veto, Preserving National Emergency Order – The New York Times

For now, the political fight over Mr. Trump’s national emergency declaration shifts to the courts, where a number of states and organizations have joined lawsuits challenging the legal merits of the order. Xavier Becerra, California’s attorney general, warned in a statement that the 20 states involved in legal action “are ready to fight long and hard to stop his fabricated emergency in its tracks.”

The judicial machinations will most likely prevent the president and Pentagon officials from immediately tapping military funds for border wall construction, and the Defense Department has yet to prepare a final list of what projects could have funding delays. It is unclear when the list will be available.

In the interim, the Pentagon has taken the first steps to begin diverting money from other Defense Department funds toward constructing fencing at the border. On Monday, Patrick M. Shanahan, the acting defense secretary, authorized the transfer of up to $1 billion from military personnel funding toward the construction of 57 miles of border fencing, improving roads and adding lighting in Yuma, Ariz., and El Paso, according to a letter sent to the Department of Homeland Security.

Military officials have said that they do not need congressional approval for such an action. But across Capitol Hill on Tuesday, lawmakers pressed Pentagon officials about the potential effect on military construction and the merits of a wall at the southwestern border.

“To look at the Pentagon as a piggy bank, slush fund, where you can grab money for something when you need it really undermines the credibility of the entire D.O.D. budget,” said Representative Adam Smith of Washington, the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee.

At a hearing on Tuesday, Mr. Smith warned Mr. Shanahan and General Joseph F. Dunford Jr., the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, that Congress would respond to the reallocation of funds without congressional approval by curtailing the privilege of such reallocations in the spending bills for the next fiscal year.

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