Sens. Tom Carper and Chris Coons, both D-Delaware, joined 30 additional senators Feb. 28 to introduce the Restoring Military Priorities Act of 2020, which would reverse and restore the Department of Defense’s recent transfer of $3.8 billion to be used to build part of President Donald Trump’s border wall.
The bill also reduces DoD’s transfer authority so that DoD cannot turn around and try to divert additional funding for Trump’s border wall. Currently, there is no other process at hand to reverse a reprogramming.
The transfer takes more than $1 billion from the National Guard, including $790 million for the National Guard and Reserve Equipment Account, and may impact funding for units in Delaware. The transfer also raids nearly $1.5 billion in funds provided by Congress to the Navy and Marine Corps — including funding for replacement aircraft vital to ensure the readiness and safety of servicemembers.
“Once again, President Trump is ignoring the Constitution, disregarding a coequal branch of government and diverting funds from crucial military programs to build his ineffective border wall,” said Carper. “Not only will this not address the challenges along our southern border, but diverting these funds appropriated to the Department of Defense will impact the readiness of our National Guard and make Americans, and our military, less safe. If President Trump is serious about securing the border, he should work with Congress to build upon the smart investments made by the Obama administration to address the root causes of irregular migration at the U.S. southern border — rather than raiding funding dedicated to our military and National Guard.”
“It is unacceptable for the Trump administration to divert Department of Defense funds away from the programs set by Congress,” said Coons. “Not only does this reprogramming undermine the role of Congress in setting funding, but it could also harm the ability of the Delaware National Guard and Guard units around the United States to accomplish their missions at home and abroad.”
This was the third time in less than one year that the Defense Department has used this unilateral process to bypass Congress and divert funding to Trump’s border wall. In spring 2019, the Defense Department transferred $2.5 billion in funding to be used to build part of Trump’s border wall, and the president later raided an additional $3.6 billion in military construction funds for his wall. Earlier in February, the Defense Department reprogrammed another $3.8 billion from 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 January, it was reported that Trump intends to raid $7.2 billion in DoD funds this year to pay for his wall.
Full text of the legislation is available at bit.ly/2PAc8sm.