Another senior member of the House Armed Services Committee said its members would "do everything in our power to push back against this irresponsible and irrational decision by the president". "The re-programming announced today is contrary to Congress's constitutional authority, and I believe that it requires Congress to take action". He alienated lawmakers on both sides past year when diverting funding intended for popular projects on military bases.
The Department of Defense money was originally meant to pay for "new aircraft, naval ships, and equipment for the National Guard", the Wall Street Journal reported. For example, the cuts affect an amphibious assault ship built in MS and an Expeditionary Fast Transport ship that's built in Alabama, a state represented by Sen.
According to Customs and Border Protection, since 2017, the Trump administration has secured $11.1 billion in funding for border wall construction that will be used for about 570 miles of wall construction.
President Trump, running for reelection, is eager to show progress on the project that was perhaps the No. 1 promise of his 2016 campaign.More news: United Kingdom finance minister Sajid Javid quits as PM Boris Johnson reshapes cabinet
"It's grossly irresponsible of President Trump to raid money that is necessary to support and defend our nation for his vanity wall", Rep. John Garamendi, D-Calif., the chairman of the committee's subpanel on readiness, said in a prepared statement Thursday.
The Pentagon told Congress it was transferring the $3.8 billion to "counter-drug activities" on the border in support of the Department of Homeland Security.
Bob Salesses, the deputy assistant defense secretary, told reporters on Thursday that the funds are meant to help build 30-foot fencing on federally-controlled land in six border areas: San Diego and El Centro, California; Yuma and Tuscon, Arizona, and El Paso and Del Rio, Texas. The president argued that he had authority to use military funds because of what he deemed a national security emergency along the border, a claim that federal courts are still reviewing.
Specifically, the plan targets money for two F-35 fighters sought by top House Appropriations Committee Republican Kay Granger and other members of the Texas delegation. Esper approved a portion of that. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), the Senate Appropriations Committee vice chairman, said.More news: Barclays boss facing FCA investigation over ties to Epstein
While no decisions have been made about additional funds being used from other military construction projects, Salesses confirmed that there are ongoing discussions about the possibility.
"This is a congressional special interest item", said the Pentagon documents, referring to the targets of numerous cuts.
In response to the news, several congressional members on Capitol Hill are decrying the move as unconstitutional and unsafe.
Trump's action comes less than two months after he signed a huge appropriations package into law. 'This latest effort to steal Congressionally-appropriated military funding undermines our national security and the separation of powers enshrined in our Constitution, ' they said.More news: Coronavirus: 'Way too early' to predict end of outbreak, World Health Organization says
On Monday the White House released its budget request for 2021 that included $2 billion in border wall funds, far less than what Trump is planning to take from defense funding. This year, by targeting spending for weapons, his proposal drew even more opposition in Congress, from lawmakers in both parties who guard such defense contracts for their job-creation benefits as much as for national security.