WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith (D-WA) today issued the following statement in response to the Trump Administration’s repeated efforts to pay for the construction of a wall on the southwest border, most recently by using funds originally authorized and appropriated for critical military construction projects:
“With Secretary Esper’s announcement today, the Department of Defense has again ignored the will of Congress by wasting more taxpayer dollars on the construction of an unnecessary border wall. Rather than address critical defense needs like readiness, modernization, and disaster recovery, the Trump Administration is stealing funds from the military to fulfill a partisan campaign promise.
“For years Congress has provided the Department of Defense with flexibility to carry out military construction projects, outside of the normal legislative process, to respond to legitimate emergencies. These have included projects to shore up vulnerabilities at military bases after the 9/11 attacks and to support troops operating in the Middle East and Africa.
“Previous emergency construction projects have been funded by using bid savings or funds taken from other construction projects that were cancelled and no longer needed. Today’s announcement breaks with that precedent. Instead, the budget gimmick being pursued by this Administration – stealing from military construction projects and upending years of planning and coordination in hopes that Congress would clean up their mess – represents a new low for this Administration’s relationship with Congress as a coequal branch of American government.”
The full letter of intent to reprogram these funds can be found here.