Warner & Kaine Slam Trump Plan To Raid Virginia Military Construction Projects To Build Border Wall
Trump plan takes $77,120,000 away from military construction projects in Virginia
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine condemned the Trump Administration’s plans to build portions of President Trump’s border wall by diverting $3.6 billion in military construction funds, including by taking funding from four projects in Virginia:
“The decision by the President to divert funding meant to support U.S. national security interests so that he can build a border wall only makes us less safe,” said Warner. “Taking money away from our military – including funding to support critical projects here in Virginia – will mean we are less equipped to tackle threats here at home and abroad.”
“I’m deeply concerned about President Trump’s plan to pull funding from critical national security projects – including millions of dollars from important projects in Virginia – so he can build his border wall. The well-being of American troops is the core responsibility of every commander in the military, yet the Commander-in-Chief is shirking that duty so he can advance his own political agenda,” said Kaine.
The Department of Defense informed Warner and Kaine that the Trump Administration plans to take the following funding away from military construction projects in Virginia:
Warner and Kaine have been outspoken against President Trump’s plan to pull money from military construction projects to build his border wall since it was initially announced earlier this year. Kaine has demanded details on the projects that will lose funding and called on his colleagues in the Senate to oppose the Administration’s efforts.Cyber Operations Facility at Joint Base Langley-Eustis will lose $10,000,000.
Navy Ships Maintenance Facility in Portsmouth will lose $26,120,000.
A project to replace a hazardous materials warehouse in Norfolk will lose $18,500,000.
A project to replace a hazardous materials warehouse in Portsmouth will lose $22,500,000.
Kaine.senate.gov - (press release)
Pentagon IG opens review into troop deployment at U.S.-Mexico border
Troop levels at the border have at times surpassed 5,000 since President Donald Trump began deploying them there in the fall of 2018.
The Pentagon inspector general has launched a review to determine whether the U.S. military deployment to the southern border is legal, according to a Department of Defense memo obtained by NBC News.
The review was opened three months after 30 members of Congress requested an investigation into whether the deployment violates a law that prohibits active duty military troops from carrying out law enforcement duties inside the U.S.
In a memo to military leaders, Glenn Fine, the principal deputy inspector general, said the evaluation will look into a range of areas, including the type of activities the troops are doing at the border, the training they received, and the cost of the deployments.
"We intend to conduct this important evaluation as expeditiously as possible," Fine said in a statement.
The Department of Homeland Security didn't respond to a request for comment.
Adding:Second Federal Judge Blocks Plan To Use Pentagon Funds For Border Wall
A federal judge in California ruled Wednesday that the Trump administration may not divert $3.6 billion in Defense Department funds for construction of the wall on the southern border.
The ruling by U.S. District Judge Haywood S. Gilliam Jr. is the second court decision in two days blocking the administration's effort to reallocate money Congress has appropriated for other purposes.
A federal judge in Texas on Tuesday, in a separate case, ruled that the administration may not use an emergency proclamation to divert funds from military construction projects. U.S. District Judge David Briones issued a permanent injunction blocking the administration's border wall project.
In his ruling, Gilliam said the administration was trying to circumvent congressional appropriations for military construction projects. He wrote that "the border barrier projects Defendants now assert are 'necessary to support the use of the armed forces' are the very same projects Defendants sought — and failed — to build under [the Department on Homeland Security's] civilian authority, because Congress would not appropriate the requested funds."
Gilliam's ruling comes in response to two suits filed by the state of California and the ACLU on behalf of the Sierra Club.
ABC News: Courts block Trump administration plan to use military funds for border wall
The funding block comes as federal budget negotiations loom over Congress.
Exclusive: Military Documents about US-Mexico Border are Now Classified to Prevent Leaks, Limit Media Coverage
The Defense Department is seeking to stamp out leaks and limit media coverage of military operations at the U.S.-Mexico border by making what historically have been unclassified orders and daily briefings classified, Newsweek has learned.
Last week, military officials released operation orders for 2020 which form a new request for assistance, or RFA, from the Department of Homeland Security for continued Pentagon support on the southwest border. While previous requests have been unclassified since U.S. forces first deployed to the U.S.-Mexico border in October 2018, the latest set of orders was disseminated over a secret network called SIPR.
The policy shift to classify border documents came from Lieutenant General Laura J. Richardson of the U.S. Army in response to negative news coverage and leaks of border documents under U.S. Army North's previous commander, Lieutenant General Jeffrey S. Buchanan, who retired back in July, according to three Pentagon sources with direct knowledge of the matter. The sources said that verbal commands—versus orders with a paper trail—are more commonplace under Richardson than under Buchanan's tenure.
An official with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Newsweek that Buchanan wanted to keep as much of the border mission unclassified for transparency purposes with the American public but that Richardson said, "Move the mission to SIPR."