Wednesday, 19 June, 2019

Pentagon lists possible project cuts to pay for border wall

Acting defense secretary Patrick Shanahan appeared before the Senate Armed Services Committee on March 14 Acting defense secretary Patrick Shanahan appeared before the Senate Armed Services Committee on March 14
Steven Clarke | 21 March, 2019, 02:49

The House is scheduled to vote on the president's veto on March 26, but neither it nor the Senate is likely to have the two-thirds majority necessary to override the veto and thwart Trump's emergency declaration. Thom Tillis, who initially said he opposed Trump's emergency but voted for it. Tillis, who could face a tough re-election fight next year, said the White House had shown a willingness to consider curbing presidential powers to declare future emergencies.

The document listed hundreds of projects envisioned around the USA and the world that are worth around $12.9 billion US.

After closing parts of the government for 35 days in an impasse with Congress over wall funding, Trump declared a national security and humanitarian emergency on the southwest border in mid-February when Congress again rejected his demands for billions for the wall.

It is essentially up to Congress to go through the list and figure out which projects will not be affected, including military housing, barracks and projects that have already been awarded funding.

Trump's border emergency would redirect funds from other areas in order to construct physical barriers after he received $1.37 billion - short of his desired $5.7 billion - in a deal to end the longest shutdown in history.

The Pentagon released a list Monday of hundreds of military construction projects worldwide totaling almost $6.8 billion, many of which could be delayed or have funds diverted to fund the southern border wall. Others are construction projects that directly impact military operations and training, such as firing ranges, aircraft maintenance hangars, flight simulation facilities and munitions depots.

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Senator Jack Reed, the top Democrat on the Armed Services Committee, released the list of at-risk military projects to the media, and criticized Trump for his plans to use military funding for the wall.

A razor-wire-covered border wall separates Nogalas, Mexico, at left, and Nogales, Ariz. She said Inhofe will continue working with defense officials "to determine projects that would allow for the use of the armed forces without negatively affecting any military construction projects".

"All construction projects will proceed on schedule if the Department's FY2020 budget is enacted on time and as requested", Buccino said.

"House Republicans have stood strongly with President Trump on securing our nation's border and overwhelmingly supported his emergency declaration by large margins when we voted on this weeks ago; this will not change", said Lauren Fine, spokeswoman for No. 2 House GOP leader Steve Scalise of Louisiana. Trump vetoed the bill Friday. "He is planning to take funds from real, effective operational priorities and needed projects and divert them to his vanity wall", he said in a statement.

"We know President Trump wants to take money from our national security accounts to pay for his wall", said Reed, a West Point graduate and former Army Ranger, in a statement. That may help shore up his political base, but it could come at the expense of our military bases and the men and women of our armed forces who rely on them. The Senate followed last week by 59-41, including a dozen GOP defections. "And I think they're going to try to hide the list until that veto override vote occurs in the House and then in the Senate", he said.

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