Lawmakers criticize Pentagon for shifting money to Mexico border wall




  • In US
  • 2020-02-26 18:04:58Z
  • By Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. lawmakers on Wednesday criticized the Pentagon's decision to shift nearly $4 billion from the defense budget to pay for a wall on the border with Mexico, saying that it circumvented Congress' authority and could affect the military's ability to reprogram funds in the future.

Earlier this month the Pentagon said it would be shifting $3.8 billion from the military budget to pay for the wall, a central promise of President Donald Trump's campaign for the White House four years ago and bid this year for a second term.

The decision was met with bipartisan concern from lawmakers during a congressional hearing on the budget with Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley.

"You are heading for a major brawl with this committee," Representative John Garamendi, a Democrat, said during the hearing.

The Trump administration has vowed to build at least 400 miles (640 km) of wall along the border by November 2020, when Americans will vote for president. In his 2016 campaign, Trump said Mexico would pay for the wall. The Mexican government has consistently refused to do so.

"I support walls but I am deeply concerned about where we're headed with the constitutional issue, about Congress's role in national defense and whether that is being overridden," Representative Mac Thornberry, the top Republican on the House Armed Services Committee, said during the hearing.

Congressman Adam Smith, chairman of the committee, said the decision was "very, very damaging" and undercut the Pentagon's argument that it needed resources.

Last year lawmakers expressed similar concern about the Pentagon shifting money but have done little to actually stop it.

Trump's hard-line immigration policies, particularly for immigrants who come across the southern border with Mexico, have been a signature of his political campaign and first term in the White House.

In a letter dated Tuesday, Smith and Thornberry said that they denied the Pentagon's request to shift money, underscoring the concern about using the defense budget to pay for the wall.

"The steps taken in this reprogramming put the Department at risk to lose the flexibility Congress has historically granted to effectively manage the resources provided," the letter added.


(Reporting by Idrees Ali and Phil Stewart; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)

COMMENTS

More Related News

'It is everywhere already': Fox News hosts amp up the pressure on Trump to give up on coronavirus lockdowns and reopen the economy

Primetime host Tucker Carlson attacked "the public health establishment," which he argued "failed us badly" by recommending stay-home orders that are hurting the economy.

3M fires back at Trump over order to produce more face masks
3M fires back at Trump over order to produce more face masks

Manufacturing giant 3M pushed back Friday against criticism from President Donald Trump over production of face masks that are badly needed by American health care workers. 3M also said the administration asked it to stop exporting medical-grade masks to Canada and Latin America, which the company said

The 1,000-Bed Comfort Was Supposed to Aid New York. It Has 20 Patients.
The 1,000-Bed Comfort Was Supposed to Aid New York. It Has 20 Patients.

NEW YORK -- Such were the expectations for the Navy hospital ship U.S. Naval Ship Comfort that when it chugged into New York Harbor this week, throngs of people, momentarily forgetting the strictures of social distancing, crammed together along Manhattan's west side to catch a glimpse.On Thursday

Alarm, Denial, Blame: The Pro-Trump Media
Alarm, Denial, Blame: The Pro-Trump Media's Coronavirus Distortion

On Feb. 27, two days after the first reported case of the coronavirus spreading inside a community in the United States, Candace Owens was underwhelmed. "Now we're all going to die from Coronavirus," she wrote sarcastically to her 2 million Twitter followers, blaming a "doomsday cult

Touting Virus Cure,
Touting Virus Cure, 'Simple Country Doctor' Becomes a Right-Wing Star

Last month, residents of Kiryas Joel, a New York village of 35,000 Hasidic Jews roughly an hour's drive from Manhattan, began hearing about a promising treatment for the coronavirus that had been rippling through their community.The source was Dr. Vladimir Zelenko, 46, a mild-mannered family doctor

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: US