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Courtney Statement on President Trump's National Emergency Declaration

February 15, 2019
Press Release

NORWICH, CT – Today, Representative Joe Courtney (CT-02), a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee, issued the following statement on President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency and plans to divert critical military construction funding to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. 

“I strongly oppose President’s announcement that he will misuse emergency powers to divert military construction funding to pay for a border wall. Simply stated, this is not a proper use of the President’s authority and will harm rather than strengthen our national security. 

“Instead of promoting U.S. national security, this announcement will lead to the delay or cancellation of important military construction projects which directly support our servicemembers conducting missions throughout the country and across the world. And because this is only a portion of the funds the President claims he needs for his border wall, it calls into question whether future declarations could disrupt future projects currently planned across Connecticut in the coming decade. This announcement comes on top of testimony from senior Department of Defense officials in 2018 that there is a backlog of $116 billion in unfunded military facility projects across the DOD and that 32% of facilities are in poor or failing condition. 

“Opposition to this declaration is not one-sided political gamesmanship—senior Republicans in Congress have expressed their grave concerns as well. The ranking Republican of the House Armed Services Committee, Mac Thornberry (R-TX), stated just yesterday that he encourages the President to ‘not to divert significant Department of Defense funding for border security. Doing so would have detrimental consequences for our troops...’ The Republican chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Senator Jim Inhofe, stated his opposition to diverting critically needed military construction funding and urged the President to ‘leave [military construction] alone.’ 

“Congress just negotiated and passed a government funding bill which provides important funding to secure the southern border – a goal Democrats and Republicans share. By using this authority meant for true emergencies at a time when illegal border crossings are at historic lows, the President is setting a dangerous precedent. The President stated during his press announcement, ‘I didn’t need to do this but I’d rather do it much faster.’ It is clear by his own admission that this is not a legitimate use of his emergency powers, and the other two branches of government will have to respond.”