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article imageTrump border wall bigger priority than military bases — Pentagon

By Karen Graham     Sep 5, 2019 in Politics
The Pentagon reportedly plans to divert some $3.6 billion from 127 military projects across the globe to help fulfill Trump's promise to build a wall on the southern border. The full list of affected projects made its way to Congress this week.
Among the projects being put on-hold are rebuilding efforts at hurricane-ravaged military bases in Florida, North Carolina, and Puerto Rico.
Tyndall AFB, Camp Lejeune, and five Puerto Rico military bases were all devastated in hurricanes in the past two years and are still rebuilding billions of dollars' worth of damage. Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida is a $17 million crash rescue station project.
The diversion of funds includes about $1.1 billion in cuts from projects in the continental United States, while $700 million would come from efforts in U.S. territories and $1.8 billion from bases overseas, the Pentagon said. Schools for children of military members from Kentucky to Germany and Japan were targeted, as was a daycare center at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, the home of Air Force One.
Airmen from the 821st Contingency Response Group set up a tent city at Tyndall Air Force Base  Fla. ...
Airmen from the 821st Contingency Response Group set up a tent city at Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., on Oct. 12, 2018, days after Hurricane Michael devastated the base.
Tech. Sgt. Liliana Moreno/U.S. Air Force
NPR has the full list of overseas projects — which account for about half of the total affected projects — and domestic projects that will have funds diverted for Trump’s wall. Puerto Rico, Guam, New York, and New Mexico will be hit hardest by the diverted funds.
"We've got an emergency on the southwest border that we need to address. All of these projects are important,” a senior defense official told reporters at the Pentagon. They added that the Defense Department will work with Congress to replenish or “backfill” funding to finish the projects but admitted that such a move wasn’t guaranteed.
Lawmakers speak out
Needless to say, but lawmakers from Virginia to Arizona have learned how much their states will lose as part of Trump's efforts to get the funds needed for his wall. And this diversion of funds has hit both Democrats and Republicans, according to NPR.
Virginia Democratic Sens. Tim Kaine and Mark Warner slammed the move, saying their state alone will lose more than $77 million in planned construction projects. In all, four military projects will be impacted in Virginia.
Air Force One takes off from Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland on March 20  2016
Air Force One takes off from Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland on March 20, 2016
Mandel Ngan, AFP
"I'm deeply concerned about President Trump's plan to pull funding from critical national security projects — including millions of dollars from important projects in Virginia — so he can build his border wall," Kaine said.
"The well-being of American troops is the core responsibility of every commander in the military, yet the commander in chief is shirking that duty so he can advance his own political agenda."
On the other side of the aisle, Republican U.S. Senator Martha McSally of Arizona said she fought to ensure no projects in her state would be affected and was guaranteed of that by former acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan. She said in a statement the Fort Huachuca project was already delayed.
Six states represented by Republican lawmakers had projects worth over $ 235 million diverted to the border wall, according to The Hill. All six lawmakers voted in support of Trump's emergency declaration to get funding for his wall and they are up for reelection in 2020.
While Democrats are not averse to voicing their outrage on the use of Defense Department funds to build a wall, Republicans are still afraid of the President and don't want to be on the receiving end of his nasty tweets. So, they are very careful of their words.
“We continue to face a very real crisis at the southern border. I regret that the president has been forced to divert funding for our troops to address the crisis,” House Armed Services Committee ranking member Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) said in a statement.
More about border wall, defense funds, $36 billion, 127 projects, hurricane damage
 
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