Democrats on the House Appropriations Committee on Tuesday introduced legislation that would prevent the Pentagon from providing additional funding for President Donald Trump's long-awaited wall along the southern border.
The bill would provide $690.2 billion in discretionary spending for the Department of Defense "for operations and maintenance, readiness activities, research and development, equipment modernization, and health and quality-of-life programs for our troops and military families."
The bill provides the DOD with an $15.8 billion more than the department had in fiscal year 2019 enacted level, although it was $8 billion below the department's request.
One of the biggest aspects of this bill, however, is the tidbit that would prevent the Pentagon from providing funding to Trump's border wall.
“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 (D-NY) said in a statement.
“The bill ensures that our service members are trained and equipped to do their jobs safely and effectively and that they are prepared for future military needs. We have the most capable and advanced military in the world, and this bill honors their mission by adequately funding programs to care for service members and their families, and by protecting defense funding from being stolen for the President’s wasteful wall.”
Back in March, the Pentagon authorized $1 billion for the Army Corps of Engineers to build 57 miles of 18-feet-high pedestrian fencing. Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan followed suit and allocated another $1.5 billion. That money was pulled from a nuclear ballistic missile system and a plane surveillance program and is expected to build another 80 miles of border wall.
Although Shanahan has the ability to make decisions for his agency's spending, typically leaders ask Congress for permission.Senate Appropriation Committee Democrats also sent Shanahan a letter saying they were upset with his move.
"Once again, the Department of Defense has ignored decades of precedent and cooperation with the Congress in carrying out a transfer of funds without regard to any consultation with the Appropriation Committees," the group wrote.
The Constitution is clear: Congress appropriates funds, not the president. We’ve sent a letter to the Defense Department opposing the transfer of $1.5 billion for President Trump’s unnecessary border wall. Campaign promises shouldn’t be put ahead of the needs of our military. pic.twitter.com/P4xzTAETZE— Sen Dianne Feinstein (@SenFeinstein) May 13, 2019