The Trump administration is planning to raid nearly $4 billion in “money intended to build fighter jets, ships, vehicles and National Guard equipment” to pay for an ineffective border wall — a move that has drawn “bipartisan criticism” yet has been met by silence from spineless Senator Tillis.
The announcement comes less than a month since the Washington Post reported that the administration planne to raid an extra $7.2 billion from military construction projects and counterdrug efforts. Senator Tillis has still refused to say whether he supports the additional efforts to raid money from our military bases.
Nearly a year ago, Senator Tillis wrote a now-infamous op-ed standing up to the president’s emergency declaration before quickly caving “like a sandcastle at high tide” and voting three times to allow the White House to raid $80 million from North Carolina’s military bases. Tillis repeatedly promised that he had “taken action” to “backfill” the money, yet failed to actually deliver for North Carolina.
In an attempt to explain away his humiliating flip-flop, Senator Tillis claimed that he received a promise from the White House to have “a serious discussion about changing the National Emergencies Act.” But in the year since Trump’s emergency declaration, Congress has failed to check Trump’s attempts to raid national security budgets for his border wall, reinforcing that Tillis shamelessly caved to another empty “promise” from the White House.
“After raiding $80 million from North Carolina’s military bases, the administration is now planning to seize money for the National Guard and combat equipment — and timid Thom Tillis will undoubtedly go along with it,” NCDP spokesman Robert Howard said. “Senator Tillis repeatedly has put his own selfish political interests ahead of what’s best for our military communities, and at the end of the day it’s our servicemembers and national security paying the price.”
Politico: Pentagon to shift $3.8B for fighter planes, ships toward border wall
By Connor O’Brien and Caitlin Emma
February 13, 2020
- The Trump administration plans to sap money intended to build fighter jets, ships, vehicles and National Guard equipment in order to fund barriers on the U.S.-Mexico border, the Pentagon told Congress on Thursday, a move that has agitated Democrats and even drawn condemnation from a top House Republican.
- The surprise reprogramming of another $3.8 billion, transmitted to Congress and provided to POLITICO, means the Pentagon will have forked over nearly $10 billion since last year to help pay for President Donald Trump’s border wall.
- But this shift in funding marks a new phase for the administration, which until now had used money set for military construction and counterdrug operations, not combat equipment.
- The money will be drawn from a host of procurement accounts, many of which are popular on Capitol Hill. The move includes a cut of two Marine Corps F-35B fighter jets at a cost of $223 million; $100 million from the Army National Guard’s Humvee modernization program; $650 million cut from the Navy’s amphibious assault ship replacement; and $261 million from the Expeditionary Fast Transport ship. The reprogramming also trimmed two Air Force C-130J transport aircraft for a cut of $196 million and $180 million from the service’s light attack aircraft program.
- The Pentagon also sapped an extra $1.3 billion from National Guard and Reserve equipment accounts, for which Congress has typically sought to allocate increased funding.
- House Appropriations Chairwoman Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) and Pete Visclosky (D-Ind.), the chairman of the Defense spending panel, said in a statement that the move once again disrespects “the separation of powers” and endangers “our security by raiding military resources to pay for his wasteful border wall.”
- “While some of our Republican colleagues will lament the President’s decision, they enabled this theft by blocking our efforts to stop the President from raiding defense accounts,” the appropriators wrote. “Until they stand up to President Trump, our national security will continue to be threatened and our Constitutional system of government will continue to be undermined.”
- Congress has so far failed to attach any prohibitive language since Trump declared a national emergency last February, successfully diverting $6.7 billion from military construction and other accounts for a southern barrier.