Approps Dems Raise Alarm On Trump Admin Decision To Divert Funding From National Guard & Other Security Programs To Border Wall

WASHINGTON – Senate Appropriations Defense Subcommittee Democrats today loudly objected to the Department of Defense’s short sighted and dangerous transfer of $3.8 billion from the Department of Defense to be used to build part of President Donald Trump’s ineffective wall on the southwest border.  The reprogramming targets the men and women of the National Guard and a variety of programs added by Congress to address shortfalls that were in many cases identified by military leaders in critical equipment.

In a letter to Defense Secretary Mark Esper, the Senators called out this ongoing scheme as not only divisive, but poisonous to the relationship they seek on national defense matters – which should be above partisanship – and harmful to our national security. 

This is the third time in less than one year that the Defense Department has used this unilateral process to bypass Congress. 

“We are dismayed that the Department decided to target congressional increases to a vast number of critical programs, from aircraft to ships, including the perennially-underfunded Army National Guard, Air National Guard, and other Reserve Components,” the Senators wrote.  “In particular, Congress provided $1.3 billion to the National Guard and Reserve Equipment (NGRE) account after the President’s budget request asked for nothing in this vital appropriation.  The NGRE account has been the lifeline of modernization for the National Guard and Reserves, both for warfighting missions and domestic contingencies. The same can be said of many of the other programs targeted.” 

The Senators continued, “The raid on this funding is quite simply an attack on the efforts to ensure our citizen-soldiers are prepared to respond to disasters, both overseas and in nearly every community in all fifty states and four territories.”

Today’s letter was signed by U.S. Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Jack Reed (D-RI), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Patty Murray (D-WA), Jon Tester (D-MT), Tom Udall (D-NM), and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI).

In Spring of 2019, the Defense Department transferred $2.5 billion in funding to be used to build part of President Trump’s border wall, and the President later raided $3.6 billion more in military construction funds for his wall as well.

In January, it was reported that President Trump intends to raid $7.2 billion in DoD funds this year to pay for his wall, diverting funding from military families and forcing American taxpayers to pay for his vanity project and failed campaign promise.

The full text of the letter is available here