WASHINGTON —The House Armed Services Committees and Appropriations today demanded Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan provide documents related to the use of Defense Department funds for construction of a border wall or barriers on the U.S.-Mexico border.
In a letter to Acting Secretary Shanahan, the leaders of the Committees expressed frustration with the lack of transparency from the Department of Defense and requested 25 categories of documents related to the President’s national emergency declaration and the use of counterdrug authority to construct the President’s proposed border wall. In addition, the letter asks that – in keeping with Congressional notification requirements in law – the Department of Defense commit to inform Congress 60 days before allocating, obligating, or expending any funds for construction of a border wall or barrier.
“While the President has issued a national emergency proclamation, our committees are still responsible for performing their constitutional oversight responsibilities,” the lawmakers wrote. “As such, given the speed with which we believe the Department of Defense may be acting in response to the emergency proclamation, we request that you produce the request documents and information no later than March 21, 2019.”
The letter was signed by House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith (D-WA), House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita M. Lowey (D-NY), House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense Chairman Peter J. Visclosky (D-IN), House Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) and House Armed Services Readiness Subcommittee Chairman John Garamendi (D-CA).