Trump to trans­fer $3.8B from mil­i­tary to fund his wall

Baltimore Sun - - NATION & WORLD - By Andrew Tay­lor

WASH­ING­TON — The Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion is trans­fer­ring $3.8 bil­lion in re­cently passed mil­i­tary fund­ing to fi­nance con­struc­tion of the pres­i­dent’s long-sought U.S.Mex­ico bor­der wall, an­ger­ing not just Democrats but also GOP de­fense hawks.

Thurs­day’s move by the Pen­tagon would trans­fer money from Na­tional Guard units, air­craft pro­cure­ment and ship­build­ing to anti-drug ac­counts that can fi­nance con­struc­tion of new wall.

The ma­neu­ver, an­nounced in “re­pro­gram­ming” doc­u­ments pro­vided to law­mak­ers, came in for harsh crit­i­cism by Rep.

Mack Thorn­berry of Texas, the top Repub­li­can on the House Armed

Ser­vices Com­mit­tee. Democrats slammed the moves as well, but Trump faced no con­se­quences when mak­ing $2.5 bil­lion in sim­i­lar trans­fers last year.

“Congress has the con­sti­tu­tional au­thor­ity to de­ter­mine how de­fense dol­lars are spent,” Thorn­berry said in a state­ment. “The re­pro­gram­ming to­day is con­trary to Congress’ con­sti­tu­tional au­thor­ity.”

Trump’s ac­tion comes less than two months af­ter he signed a huge ap­pro­pri­a­tions pack­age into law. He alien­ated law­mak­ers on both sides last year when­di­vert­ing fund­ing in­tended for pop­u­lar projects on mil­i­tary bases.

This time, the Pen­tagon is targeting $1.3 bil­lion for Na­tional Guard equip­ment and ex­cess pro­cure­ment of air­craft like the F-35 and V-22 Ospreys, fa­vored by many law­mak­ers for the jobs they bring to their dis­tricts and states. He’s also elim­i­nat­ing fund­ing for an am­phibi­ous as­sault ship built in Mis­sis­sippi and an Ex­pe­di­tionary Fast Trans­port ship that’s built in Alabama, rep­re­sented by Sen. Richard Shelby, the Repub­li­can chair­man of the Ap­pro­pri­a­tions

Com­mit­tee.

The re­pro­gram­ming doc­u­ments also la­bel $532 mil­lion in air­craft pro­cure­ment as con­gres­sional items, in­clud­ing two F-35 fight­ers sought by top House Ap­pro­pri­a­tions Com­mit­tee Repub­li­can Kay Granger and other mem­bers of the Texas del­e­ga­tion.

Trump’s fis­cal 2021 bud­get, re­leased Mon­day, con­tains a $2 bil­lion re­quest for the wall, less than Trump asked for last year, which re­flected the fact that Trump has more money for the wall than can be spent im­me­di­ately.

“To­day (Trump) stole from our Na­tional Guard to pay for his waste­ful wall,” said Sen. Pa­trick Leahy, D-Vt.

Thorn­berry

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