By Jon Dougherty
As payback for POTUS Donald Trump’s emergency declaration along the U.S.-Mexico boundary, which freed up Pentagon funds he is using to build and rebuild portions of his promised border wall, House Democrats are now politicizing the 2020 defense budget, and at a time when Russian and Chinese threats, along with regional powers such as Iran and North Korea, are growing.
The Daily Caller reported:
House Democrats introduced legislation that would block the Pentagon from reallocating money to border wall construction, an attempt to undercut President Donald Trump’s trademark campaign goal.
A defense spending bill introduced Tuesday by Democrats on the House Appropriations Committee not only gives the Department of Defense less money than it requested but also limits its authority to shift funds within its budget.
The legislation comes after Democrats have grown enraged at the Pentagon for diverting funds toward border wall construction without first asking permission from Congress.
“This bill rejects the Trump administration’s budgetary gimmicks and sleights of hand and instead provides the Defense Department with appropriate resources to address an evolving threat landscape and ensure the security of our nation and our allies,” House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey, a Democrat from New York, said in a prepared statement on Tuesday.
The 158-page bill provides the Pentagon a total of $690.2 billion for the 2020 fiscal year, or an overall an increase of $15.8 billion from the current fiscal year. The majority of that will go to base defense funding while the other $68 billion would go toward a war fund called the Overseas Contingency Operations account. The OCO, as it is called, has often been utilized to fund projects other than ‘war.’
In March, the Pentagon announced that $1 billion had been made available for the president’s border wall. Earlier this month, Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan noted that an additional $1.5 billion was been made available.
The Defense Department has the authority to reauthorize its funds as the secretary and the commander-in-chief see fit without asking Congress, but typically the Pentagon consults the Legislative Branch on reallocation of funds. Not for the border wall, however, which has ticked majority Democrats off.
While this year’s defense budget does contain an increase, if there are provisions contained within the Defense Authorization Bill that hamstring POTUS Trump’s ability to repurpose funds for his border wall — which, by the way, is a national security issue — that could jeopardize its passage.
What is outrageous, however, is the fact that Democrats are choosing to politicize our national defense priorities over an issue that a majority of Americans wish they would support — better border security.
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