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Courtney Statement on Trump Administration’s Plan to Raid Critical DoD Funding for the Border Wall

February 13, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-02), Chairman of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection Forces, issued the following statement after the Trump Administration announced their intention to reprogram $3.8 billion in Department of Defense funding from various procurement priorities to instead fund construction of President Trump’s border wall through the counter-narcotics account:

“Today, the Trump Administration conducted a hit-and-run strike on the 2020 defense budget, which the President just signed into law on December 20, and boasted about in his State of the Union address last week,” said Chairman Courtney. “That budget represented a year of diligent, bipartisan work that took the Pentagon’s initial request, and with the able help of professional staff, produced a final product that passed with overwhelming bipartisan support. Today’s hijacking of Defense Department funds to a different department of the federal government occurred without the slightest advice and consent of Congressional leaders, and sadly is another example of the Administration’s braze disregard for Article One of the Constitution.

“Many of these decisions fall squarely in the jurisdiction of the Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee, a subcommittee that is central to our nation’s national defense strategy. Last year, I travelled to the North Atlantic to see first-hand the challenges posed by a resurgent Russia in that region, and saw the high-tempo work of the P-8 fleet at Iceland’s Keflavik Airfield. Notably, not a single official or military leader in any service I have met with suggested that we needed fewer of any of these hard-working and highly capable aircraft. In fact, they said just the opposite. This makes the cuts across our entire fleet of aircraft particularly puzzling.

“The diversion of funds also hit the National Guard and Reserves Equipment Account, which is an essential program that every state depends on to ensure the Reserve Force’s readiness. This decision will make the American homeland less safe, including, ironically, the work guard units are doing at the Southern Border.”

Of the $3.9 billion included in the reprogramming today, approximately $1.6 billion, or 41%, fall under the jurisdiction of the House Seapower and Projection Forces Subcommittee. That includes:

  • $155 million from V-22 (2x aircraft) 
  • $180 million from P-8 (1x aircraft) 
  • $911 million from shipbuilding, including $650 million provided for LHA-9 and an additional Expeditionary Fast Transport (EPF) 
  • $365 million from C-130J (4x aircraft)