January 15, 2020
$85 million training facility at Holloman and $40 million project at White Sands are already being diverted to president’s wall, more military projects now at risk
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Tom Udall joined Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, Appropriations Committee Vice Chair Patrick Leahy, Armed Services Committee Ranking Member Jack Reed, and Defense Appropriations Subcommittee Vice Chair and Democratic Whip Dick Durbin, in denouncing the Trump administration’s reported plan to raid an addition $7.2 billion in Pentagon funding for border wall construction this year. In doing so, the president is again abusing the National Emergencies Act in an unprecedented way to divert money from these projects to border wall construction for political purposes.
Congress did not appropriate this money to fund the president’s wall, but rather to pay for critical military construction projects to benefit service members, their families, and our national security—all of which had been fully vetted and requested by DOD and the armed services in annual presidential budget requests.
In 2019, unauthorized funding for the border wall was pulled from military construction projects including $85 million from a project at Holloman Air Force Base and $40 million from a project at White Sands Missile Range (WSMR). The new additional funding would similarly be taken from military constructions projects and counter narcotics funding.
“This continued cannibalization of an additional $7.2 billion away from counter drug efforts and military construction projects to fund the president’s misguided border wall is another slap in the face to the members of the Armed Forces and their families. It is an embarrassment that Republicans allow the president to continue usurping Congress’s exclusive power of the purse and loot vital funds from our military. This decision adds to the harm already inflicted after the president took $6.3 billion from the Department of Defense last fiscal year, $3.6 billion of which was from already approved military construction projects intended to support our service members at military installations across the United States and around the world,” said the senators.
“Bipartisan majorities in Congress have repeatedly rejected diverting money from critical military construction projects to build a single additional mile of border wall. Robbing the Defense Department of these much-needed funds in order to boost his own ego and for a wall he promised Mexico would pay to build is an insult to the sacrifices made by our service members. Senate Democrats strongly oppose this action. We will continue to oppose the transfer of counterdrug funding for the wall, and will force yet another vote to terminate the President’s sham national emergency declaration and return these much-needed military construction funds back to our military,” said the senators.
Udall is the lead sponsor of a bipartisan resolution to terminate the president’s national emergency declaration that after passing the Senate and House was vetoed by the president. Udall also co-led an amendment to the Fiscal Year 2020 Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Bill that would have blocked the president from diverting military construction funding to fund the president’s border wall.
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