Dems to Pentagon: No extra money if Trump uses defense funds to build wall

Democratic appropriators on Tuesday said they will not give the Pentagon money to cover any shortfalls that stem from President TrumpDonald John TrumpForget the spin: Five unrefuted Mueller Report revelations Lara Trump: Merkel admitting migrants 'one of the worst things that ever happened to Germany' Financial satisfaction hits record high: survey MORE using military funds to pay for a border wall.
 
 
“Let me be clear: I do not intend to use Mil-Con dollars to fund this wall,” said Rep. Debbie Wasserman SchultzDeborah (Debbie) Wasserman SchultzOvernight Energy: Trump moves to crack down on Iranian oil exports | Florida lawmakers offer bill to ban drilling off state's coast | Bloomberg donates .5M to Paris deal Florida lawmakers offer bill to ban drilling off state's coast Wasserman Schultz: 'We need a President, not a comic book villain' MORE (D-Fla.), chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, at a hearing on Trump’s 2020 budget request.
 
“And if the administration follows through and steals money from previously approved projects, the chairwoman’s mark will not provide funding for backfill. I am not joking,” she added.
 
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Trump declared a national emergency along the southern border in February, and he plans to reprogram more than $8 billion of military and Treasury funds to construct a border wall. Congress, which agreed to provide $1.35 billion in funding for border barriers, voted to oppose the declaration. Trump issued his first veto against that measure.
 
A veto-override effort in the House failed on Tuesday.
 
Robert McMahon, the assistant secretary of defense for sustainment, testified at Tuesday's hearing that any projects that lose funding would be delayed, not canceled. He also said the Pentagon had not yet put together a list of projects that might be cut.
 
“At this point I can tell you there is no list that says this is where we’re going to go, because at this point in time there’s no requirement,” he said.
 
A list of potential projects, he added, would be limited to those that were not expecting to disburse funds this year, and prioritized based on urgency.
 
“The short answer is that that list will evolve over time,” he said.
 
In response to questioning, Army Assistant Chief for Installations Management Lt. Gen. Gwen Bingham told the committee there were 13 projects funded through a hurricane relief bill that could potentially be on the chopping block.

In a tense exchange, Wasserman Shultz criticized McMahon for saying the projects would be delayed, not canceled.

“They are not going to be deferred. They are going to be canceled. We have already appropriated the funding, as I said. We are not backfilling the funding in this bill. So as a result they will be canceled because of the president’s decision to take the money from funds from already appropriated by Congress,” she said.

Democrats blasted the administration for requesting $3.6 billion in funds to backfill defunded projects that were meant to help rebuild facilities used by the military and their families.
 
“The idea that construction of a border wall takes precedence for this administration over our service members’ safety and readiness is unconscionable,” Wasserman Schultz said.