Texas lawmakers unite against Trump's potential use of Hurricane Harvey funds for border wall

More than 20 Texas lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have signed an open letter urging President Donald Trump to avoid using the $15 billion in federal funding appropriated for Hurricane Harvey relief as a means to pay for a border wall at the U.S.-Mexico border and end the ongoing government shutdown.

The Jan. 15 letter was signed by Gov. Greg Abbott; U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas; and U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, as well as several local elected officials, including U.S. Rep. Kevin Brady, R-The Woodlands; U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Tomball; U.S. Rep. Pete Olson, R-Pearland; state Rep. Dan Crenshaw, R-Houston; U.S. Rep. Lizzie Fletcher, D-Houston; and state Rep. Shelia Jackson Lee, D-Houston.

"Recent reports have indicated that your administration is considering the use of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers funds, appropriated by Congress and intended for Hurricane Harvey recovery and mitigation efforts, in an effort to secure our southern border," lawmakers said in the letter. "We strongly support securing the border with additional federal resources including tactical infrastructure technology, ports of entry improvements and personnel. However, we are strongly opposed to using funds appropriated by Congress for disaster relief and mitigation for Texas for any unintended purpose."

The letter states the funds are crucial for recovery as well as to prevent future flooding in the area.

"We ask that you ensure necessary efforts on border security do not jeopardize long-term hurricane recovery and mitigation in Texas," lawmakers said.
By Wendy Sturges
A Houston native and graduate of St. Edward's University in Austin, Wendy Sturges has worked as a community journalist covering local government, health care, business and development since 2011. She has worked with Community Impact since 2015 as a reporter and editor and moved to Tennessee in 2019.