Congressman Gilbert R. Cisneros, Jr. (CA-39), House Armed Services Committee Vice Chair Anthony G. Brown (MD-04), Congresswoman Veronica Escobar (TX-16), Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill (NJ-11) and 27 lawmakers sent a letter to Defense Secretary Mark Esper about the administration’s plan to divert billions of dollars in military funds to the construction of additional fencing and barriers along the U.S.- Mexico border.
Last year, a bipartisan, bicameral coalition of more than 300 Senators and Representatives voted to terminate the Administration’s unjustified national emergency declaration. Available data and Department of Defense officials both confirm that there is no significant national security threat at America’s southwest border. Congress has met the President’s request for additional funds over the last three budget cycles by appropriating $4.5 billion for barriers and fencing. Nevertheless in Fiscal Year (FY) 2019, the Administration diverted $6.1 billion of Department of Defense funding for border wall construction and is reportedly preparing to redirect an additional $7.2 billion in FY 2020.
“Despite the significant resources appropriated by Congress for border security, the Administration still decided to circumvent Congress,” the lawmakers wrote. “The military construction projects being delayed or cancelled will only add to the over $116 billion maintenance backlog of projects, directly impacting our military readiness and the well-being of our military families.”
Many of the projects impacted by this decision would have improved the quality of life for military service members and their families. Updating classrooms, clinics and other facilities used by troops and their loved ones is important to both morale and safety. The lawmakers asked the Department of Defense to reconsider its decision which would cause lasting harm to the United States’ ability to build and sustain readiness, meet national security challenges and honor the sacrifices of our armed forces and their families.
“It’s outrageous that the President is stealing money from our troops and military families, again, for his ineffective, wasteful wall. We currently face a diverse array of threats around the world and, as a former Navy supply officer, I know that our military commanders are fighting for this funding in order to face those threats. We cannot take money away from our military leaders to pay for a vanity project that does nothing for our security,” said Rep. Gil Cisneros. “Despite Congress having the power of the purse, the Administration has continued to turn a blind eye to the roles and responsibilities laid out in our Constitution. Their actions only jeopardize our military readiness and take resources away from our troops serving our nation.”
“Military families are paying the price for President Trump’s ineffective vanity project,” said Congressman Anthony Brown. “In cancelling hundreds of projects across the country, including child care centers in my district, the Trump Administration is failing to live up to the promises we make to our troops and their families. Mexico isn’t paying for this wall, the burden is falling on these brave families.”
“As a member of the House Armed Services Committee, I have worked closely and carefully with military leaders to ensure appropriate resourcing for our military. It is simply unacceptable that the President would then rob these resources for a second time to carry out a campaign promise, particularly from funds allocated for critical military construction projects that would improve conditions for military families at bases around the country and abroad,” said Congresswoman Veronica Escobar. “Military families deserve better from their Commander in Chief.”
“I firmly believe we can secure our borders without stripping funds from programs critical to military readiness and military families,” said Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill. “Congress passed record-level funding for border security in a bipartisan vote last year, and this plan to divert necessary military funding undermines the safety and mission of our armed forces.”
Signers include; Reps. Don Beyer (VA-08), Salud Carbajal (CA-24), Tony Cardenas (CA-29), Andre Carson (IN-07), Joaquin Castro (TX-20), Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02), Ruben Gallego (AZ-07), Sylvia Garcia (TX-29), Deb Haaland (NM-01), Jahana Hayes (CT-05), Chrissy Houlahan (PA-06), Rick Larsen (WA-02), Alan Lowenthal (CA-47), Ben Ray Lujan (NM-03), Elaine Luria (VA-02), James McGovern (MA-02), Seth Moulton (MA-06), Donald Norcross (NJ-01), Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC-AL), Jamie Raskin (MD-08), Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), Darren Soto (FL-09), Jackie Speier (CA-14), Lori Trahan (MA-03), Juan Vargas (CA-51), Filemon Vela (TX-34) and Peter Welch (VT-AL).
This article was released by the Office of Congressman Gilbert R. Cisneros, Jr.