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Puerto Rico loses most as Trump moves military money to border wall

Published: Wednesday, September 04, 2019 @ 8:30 PM

The Trump Administration officially notified lawmakers in Congress on Tuesday that President Donald Trump was exercising special emergency powers to funnel $3.6 billion in money approved for specific military construction projects over to construction of a wall along the southern border with Mexico, as the Pentagon finally named the dozens of projects which would lose their funding to the wall.

Losing the most in money approved for Pentagon construction projects - over $400 million - was the territory of Puerto Rico, which saw money transferred out of plans to build an aircraft maintenance hangar, an electrical substation, dining facility, and a variety of other support projects at U.S. military installations on the island.

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"The funding for military construction projects should not be up for grabs," said Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), who said the money was "specifically appropriated by Congress and signed into law."

But the President used a law passed by Congress which gives him the power to repurpose those already approved funds - as Mr. Trump shifted the money to the border wall.

The projects put on hold ranged from a middle school at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, to an engineering center at West Point, a child care center at Joint Base Andrews near Washington, D.C., to an ambulatory care center at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.

Some states like Ohio and Georgia escaped entirely, even though various projects at military installations in those states had been under review by the Pentagon.

Also standing out was $17 million stripped from Tyndall Air Force Base in the Panhandle of Florida - as the military is in the midst of totally rebuilding that base after it was destroyed by a hurricane in 2018.

"The fact that President Trump is willing to undermine military readiness and California’s firefighting capabilities is unconscionable," said Rep. Julia Brownley (D-CA), as the Pentagon shifted $8 million away from a flight simulator for pilots fighting wildfires.

Overall, the plan would halt just over $1 billion in military construction projects in 23 states; another $687 million would be put on hold in U.S. territories like Puerto Rico, and about $1.8 billion would not be spent at various overseas U.S. military installations.

"The Trump Administration’s $3.6 billion raid on our military budget to satisfy the President’s political ego is nothing short of reckless," said Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA).

The list of projects can be found at this link.

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