A Democrat-led congressional committee challenged Tuesday the Pentagon’s plan to divert $1 billion to support President Donald Trump’s plan to build a wall on the US-Mexico border.
Less than one day after acting Pentagon chief Patrick Shanahan authorized moving the funds from existing Defense Department projects to border construction, the House Armed Services Committee said this move was not permitted.
It was the newest challenge to Trump’s February 15 declaration of a “national emergency” at the border in order to obtain more than $5 billion to build a frontier wall to keep out illegal immigrants and drug smugglers, after Congress denied him the funds.
The Defense Department “is attempting to circumvent Congress and the American people’s opposition to using taxpayer money for the construction of an unnecessary wall, and the military is paying the cost,” said committee Chairman Adam Smith.
“This needs to stop… The administration should stop using our service members as a political tool and instead focus on building military capabilities and readiness and areas where we should focus our defense resources.”
“Congress will act as necessary to defend its Constitutional prerogatives,” Smith warned in a statement.
For two years, Trump has battled Congress for as much as $25 billion in funds to fortify the Mexico border with a massive wall.