Democratic appropriators demand list of military projects that would be defunded for wall

Democratic appropriators demand list of military projects that would be defunded for wall
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Top Senate Democrats are demanding a list of military projects that would lose funding under President TrumpDonald John TrumpJoe Arpaio loses bid for his old position as sheriff Trump brushes off view that Russia denigrating Biden: 'Nobody's been tougher on Russia than I have' Trump tees up executive orders on economy but won't sign yet MORE's plan to divert resources to pay for a long-promised border wall.

"We have strong concerns about hitting the pause button on such readiness initiatives that Congress already approved when it exercised its constitutional appropriations prerogative,” the lawmakers, led by Sens. Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahySenate Democrats demand answers on migrant child trafficking during pandemic Yates spars with GOP at testy hearing Vermont has a chance to show how bipartisanship can tackle systemic racism MORE (D-Vt.), Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinOn The Money: Pessimism grows as coronavirus talks go down to the wire | Jobs report poised to light fire under COVID-19 talks | Tax preparers warn unemployment recipients could owe IRS Pessimism grows as coronavirus talks go down to the wire Senate Democrats demand answers on migrant child trafficking during pandemic MORE (D-Ill.) and Brian SchatzBrian Emanuel SchatzLobbying world Overnight Defense: House passes defense bill that Trump threatened to veto | Esper voices concerns about officers wearing military garb Senate rejects broad restrictions on transfers of military-grade equipment to police MORE (D-Hawaii), wrote in a letter to acting Defense Secretary Patrick ShanahanPatrick Michael ShanahanHouse Armed Services chairman expresses confidence in Esper amid aircraft carrier coronavirus crisis Boeing pleads for bailout under weight of coronavirus, 737 fallout Esper's chief of staff to depart at end of January MORE.

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“We request that you provide to us the list of the projects deemed less important than building a wall along the southern border, along with the military criteria used to justify those decisions.”

The letter was signed by every Democratic member of the military construction and the Defense Appropriations subcommittees.

Trump declared the national emergency last month to allocate roughly $8 billion for barriers along the southern border. Of those funds, more than $6 billion would come from the Department of Defense. He moved to divert the funds after a congressional spending bill fell short of his demands for his signature campaign promise.

“By using such authority, [the Department of Defense] will have to cancel or delay approximately twenty percent of the military construction projects previously reported to Congress as top priorities for the military. We request that you provide to us the list of the projects deemed less important than building a wall along the southern border, along with the military criteria used to justify those decisions,” the appropriators wrote.

“We believe that cancelling or delaying military construction and family housing projects would have damaging short- and long-term impacts. The decision to do so imposes known and unknown risks on the military services’ ability to train the force, maintain readiness, and support military missions.”

Democrats were swift to condemn Trump’s emergency declaration, echoing criticism that the diverted funds would harm military readiness and instead pay for what they slammed as a fabricated crisis.