WASHINGTON — Border construction near Yuma will receive almost $1.3 billion of the $3.6 billion the Defense Department said it will divert from planned military projects under the national border emergency declared in February by President Donald Trump.
Among the 127 Pentagon projects scheduled to lose funding this year for Trump’s border construction push is a planned ground transport equipment building at Fort Huachuca. The Army base near Sierra Vista will lose $30 million that was budgeted for that project in fiscal 2019.
The funding shifts – announced in a letter to lawmakers Tuesday and calls Wednesday to those who lost projects in their districts – sparked outrage from Democrats, many of whom accuse the president of robbing the military to feed his ego.
“They are illegally stealing money from our troops for a useless border wall that Congress resoundingly denied,” said Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Phoenix, in a statement.
“It violates bipartisan congressional intent; it violates the U.S. Constitution; and it violates our nation’s fundamental values,” said Gallego, a Marine Corps veteran and member of the House Armed Services Committee.
But in his letter Tuesday to the committee, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said the money would be directed toward border projects that would allow for more efficient use of active and reserve troops – which were ordered to the border by Trump. He called the border projects “force multipliers” for the troops on the border.