Nancy Pelosi Voices Fury at Donald Trump Getting $3.6 Billion of Military Building Cash Diverted to Build His Wall
Emily Goodin, Daily Mail, September 4, 2019
Nancy Pelosi slammed the Pentagon’s plan to divert $3.6 billion in military construction projects to build Donald Trump’s border wall, a move that has infuriated lawmakers who charge the White House with illegally over riding Congress’s authority over the federal budget.
‘The Administration’s irresponsible decision to transfer funds from appropriated U.S. military construction makes America less safe and dishonors the Constitution. The President is negating the Constitution’s most fundamental principle, the separation of powers, by assaulting our Congressional ‘power of the purse,’ and is undermining the oath of office we take to protect and defend the Constitution and the American people,’ Speaker Pelosi said in a statement.
She vowed to fight the administration’s plan.
‘The House will continue to fight this unacceptable and deeply dangerous decision in the Courts, in the Congress and in the court of public opinion, and honor our oath to protect the Constitution,’ Pelosi said.
Defense Secretary Mark Esper informed congressional leaders on Tuesday of the plan to divert billions from 127 military projects to build the wall.
The Pentagon is expected to release a full list of the projects affected later this week, perhaps as early as Wednesday, but is first contacting the lawmakers who represent areas that house the affected projects.
Esper said in a letter to congressional leadership that military housing projects will not be affected.
‘It is a slap in the face to the members of the Armed Forces who serve our country that President Trump is willing to cannibalize already allocated military funding to boost his own ego and for a wall he promised Mexico would pay to build. The president is trying to usurp Congress’s exclusive power of the purse and loot vital funds from our military,’ said Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, who will see funds raided from West Point Military Academy in his home state of New York.
The administration’s move will fund 175 miles of border wall, which will be a combination of new structures and improvements to already existing barricades.
Pentagon Comptroller Elaine McCusker said construction is expected to begin in about 135 days.
The 10 Democrats on the Senate Armed Services Committee sent Esper a letter on Tuesday, asking for more information on the affected projects, including how they were selected.
The lawmakers said they ‘expect a full justification of how the decision to cancel was made for each project selected and why a border wall is more important to our national security and the wellbeing of our service members and their families than these projects.’
While Democrats are being vocal in their criticism, Republicans are expected to express their concerns more quietly.
Republican lawmakers have — in the past — warned the president about overstepping congressional authority as members of Congress in both parties are judicious in protecting their power.
In July, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle — including several vocal Republicans — warned the president not to bypass Congress in order to sale arms to Saudi Arabia, reminding him of congressional power to review weapons deals.
The Constitution gives Congress the power of the purse. Congress appropriates money for the federal budget.
President Trump declared a national emergency in February to get around Congress’ refusal to fully fund his border wall, which is estimated to cost around $5 billion to construct.
Section 2808 of U.S. code allows the defense secretary, during national emergencies requiring the use of the military, to move forward on construction projects to support the troops without the approval of Congress.
Esper said the building of the wall will support American forces deployed to the U.S.’s southern border with Mexico.
Although lawmakers grumbled at the president’s emergency declaration, they were unable to muster the necessary votes to veto it in February.
About a dozen Senate Republicans voted with Democrats to try and block the Trump’s declaration in a major rebuke to the president.
Democrats have vowed to try another veto over ride vote this fall.