Armed Services Chair Blocks Trump’s $1 Billion Pentagon Power Grab

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Donald Trump does not read, so instead of a presidential library, he wants a memorial wall along the nation’s southern border. He kept turning down the amount of money Congress offered him to build his useless wall, then he shut down the government. The commander-in-chief continues his underhanded moves to pilfer billions of dollars for his wall.

In a huge power grab, POTUS decided he would just shift monies around until he had enough. The House is in charge of the American’s purse, and Pelosi told him no. Still, Trump pushed back. He told the Department of Defense (DOD) to move $1 billion from its military personnel account for construction of his “57-mile fence at the southern U.S. border,” according to NPR. The man currently sitting in the Oval Office has refused to accept “no” for an answer time after time after time.

Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan told the House Armed Services Committee that some of the different military branches did not meet their “recruiting goals,” so they had the extra $1 billion laying around. He said moving the money would not interfere with military readiness:

‘Military construction on the border will not come at the expense of our people, our readiness, or our modernization.’ 

Committee Chair Adam Smith (D-WA) noted that the Pentagon must consult with Congress before moving money that has already been delegated for “specific purposes and programs.”  He said that Shanahan had not asked for the funds and should the Pentagon make such a move, Congress would take away the Pentagon’s ability to “reprogram” money.

Shanahan responded:

‘Given a legal order from the commander in chief, we are executing on that order. (The Pentagon knows the) downsides, which will hamper us.’

The wall is a fool’s errand. Modern technology would be so much more effective than any wall, according to former Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano. Representative Mike Turner (R-OH) said the various members of the committee could have differing opinions about “border and immigration policies,” but:

‘We have bipartisan support for the fact that our military budget should not be cannibalized for our border security needs.’

Ranking member of the House Armed Services Representative Mac Thornberry (R-TX) said, according to POLITICO:

‘My understanding is they intend to move the money, regardless, and that is a matter of considerable concern. I think people on both sides of the aisle (are concerned), appropriators, authorizers, not just us, but other committees too.’

Shanahan kept explaining the president’s plan, according to NPR:

‘I appreciate the inherent intragovernment complexities of the southwest border situation. I also want to emphasize: The funds requested for the border barrier amount to less than 1 percent of the National Defense top line.’

Mayor of McAllen, TX Jim Darling spoke to NPR:

‘Send social workers to process the asylum-seekers, not soldiers.’

 

Brownsville Judge Eddie Trevino said:

‘It is a misconception that the border is insecure. There is no Central American invasion. This is a manufactured crisis.’

 

Democratic senators objecting to the plan to move $1 billion sent Shanahan a letter that if he bypassed the congressional committees, that would be in violation of the “defense appropriations bill:”

‘As a result, we have serious concerns that the Department has allowed political interference and pet projects to come ahead of many near-term, critical readiness issues facing our military.’

Shanahan simply informed the Armed Services committee of Trump’s intent. Committee Chair Adam Smith sent this letter saying that after the committee reviewed the “proposed reprogramming request,” and it “denies the request:”

The Pentagon released a notice about the money movement. Ironically, it was called “DOD Authorizes Support to Counter Drug Border Security:”

‘These funds will be used to support DHS’s request to build 57 miles of 18-foot-high pedestrian fencing, constructing and improving roads, and installing lighting within the Yuma and El Paso Sectors of the border in support of the February 15 national emergency declaration on the southern border of the United States.’