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Ranking House Armed Services Republican Claims Trump’s Use of Pentagon Funds for Border Wall is Unconstitutional

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a bilateral meeting with the President of the Swiss Confederation Simonetta Sommaruga at the 50th World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, January 21, 2020. (REUTERS/Denis Balibouse)

Representative Marc Thornberry (R., Texas), ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee, released a statement Thursday which called the Trump administration’s plans to reroute $3.8 billion in Pentagon funding to the construction of a border wall “contrary to Congress’s constitutional authority.”

Thornberry — joining colleagues across the aisle in decrying the decision — warned that while border security was important, the diversion of funds “undermines the principle of civilian control of the military and is in violation of the separation of powers within the Constitution.”

“To be clear, I continue to believe that the situation on our southern border represents a national security challenge for our country — one that has been exacerbated by partisan politics in Washington,” Thornberry said. “The wall should be funded, but the funding must come through the Department of Homeland Security rather than diverting critical military resources that are needed and in law.”

The administration told Congress Thursday of the plan to divert further funding away from the Department of Defense, after already siphoning $6.7 billion from other government departments for barrier construction, with another $7.2 billion planned for this fiscal year. Most of the funding affects orders for new drones, Humvees, planes — including F-35 fighter jets — and ships, as well as $1.3 billion in “unspecified National Guard and Reserve equipment.”

With the DoD bearing much of the funding hit, Thornberry’s fellow Texan, Democratic Representative Marc Veasey —who co-chairs the Congressional Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Caucus — slammed the decision as one that endangers “the jobs of thousands of North Texans that work every day to keep our country safe.”

Defense contractor Lockheed Martin is building the F-35 fighter in Fort Worth.

Representative Kay Granger, the Republican who represents Fort Worth and Texas’s 12 Congressional District, released a statement praising the move.

“Democrats have refused to work with us on border security, which has forced the President to redirect funds from other defense programs in the short term in order to secure the southern border,” Granger said. “. . . I have confidence that the platforms manufactured by the world-class workforce in and around Texas District 12 will be preserved and jobs will be protected.

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