The Pentagon is requesting nearly $4 billion budgeted for the National Guard and military weapons programs instead be spent on Trump’s border wall.
Congress received a request from the U.S. Defense Department on Thursday to shift $3.8 billion away from military programs to the construction of Trump’s U.S.-Mexico border wall.
The proposed plan would use money budgeted for the National Guard and military weapons programs, U.S. News reports. The plan also seeks to remove funding for line items added by members of Congress during previous budget negotiations. The slight did not go unnoticed by House Democrats, who characterized the proposal as an overstep of the Executive Branch.
Reps. Nita M. Lowey, D-N.Y., and Pete Visclosky, D-Ind., released a joint statement claiming that Trump was “once again disrespecting the separation of powers and endangering our security by raiding military resources to pay for his wasteful border wall,” and “orchestrating this backdoor mechanism to prop up a political vanity project.”
Different military branches would feel the impact of the budget adjustment. The Army would lose $100 million set aside to modernize the National Guard Humvee fleet. Another $558 million would be taken from the Navy and Marine Corps budget earmarked for purchasing aircraft, and $861 million reserved for aircraft purchases would also be taken from the Air Force.
In addition to losing its money for vehicle upgrades, the National Guard would lose $1.3 billion from its overall budget. In the request, the Pentagon claims the branch had unspent money left in previous years, and money used would come from improperly allocated funds.
This is not the first time the president has swiped military funding for the wall project. In 2019, more than 100 military construction projects were delayed due to a lack of funding. Funds for the projects went towards helping pay for the border wall.
Some Republicans have also expressed concern over Trump’s attempts to use the military budget to fund the wall. Sen. Shelby, R-Ala., said he wants to find a way to fund it while leaving the military budget untouched.
“I wish they wouldn’t take [wall funding] out of defense. I want to build the wall. I supported direct appropriations for it and fought for it,” Shelby said. “But we have to evaluate what this does to the military, what it affects, where and how.”