Trump's wall declaration threatens to take money from military families in red states

List of projects Trump may raid includes hundreds of millions for military families and bases in key 2020 states

By Igor Derysh

Managing Editor

Published March 21, 2019 6:00AM (EDT)


President Trump is expected to funnel money intended to build housing for military families in red states to fund his border wall after declaring a national emergency.

Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., released a list of military projects that Trump may grab money from to fund some of his proposed wall after his emergency declaration paved the way for him to reallocate more than $3 billion in military construction funding. The list includes hundreds of millions of dollars for military bases and military family housing in Arizona, Colorado, Georgia and North Carolina. All four states are represented by Republicans who voted in favor of Trump’s emergency declaration last week and are up for re-election next year.

In Arizona, Sen . Martha McSally bragged that she “fought for Luke Air Force Base” just weeks before voting to let Trump raid up to $150 million from military bases in the state, including $40 million at Luke Air Force Base.

In Colorado, Sen. Cory Gardner voted to let Trump take up to $77 million in funding for Fort Carson to "provide troops with a long-awaited, improved vehicle maintenance shop to repair the post's aging fleet of trucks, tanks and Humvees,” The Colorado Springs Gazette reported. The vote led The Denver Post to declare that its previous endorsement of Gardner was a “mistake.”

In Georgia, Sen. David Perdue voted to let Trump take up to $260 million from military bases in the state, including "$99 million for a cyber instructional facility at Fort Gordon, nearly $31 million for a hangar at Moody Air Force base and more than $75 million for a combat vehicle warehouse and body repair shop at Albany's Marine Corps Logistics Base,” The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

In North Carolina, Sen. Thom Tillis declared that the would vote against Trump’s emergency declaration -- before he voted for it. Tillis’ state stands to lose more than any other, with up to $600 million in funding for bases in the state now in jeopardy, Roll Call reported.

All four senators voted to side with Trump over their own states’ needs and could now face tough re-election battles in four states where Republicans no longer dominate electoral politics.

Other Republicans like Texas’ John Cornyn, South Carolina’s Lindsey Graham and Alaska’s Dan Sullivan also voted to allow Trump to raid military projects in their states, Roll Call reported.

Trump also threatened Republicans who voted alongside Democrats against the emergency declaration.

The New York Times reported that Trump made a “volley of phone calls” ahead of the vote last week and warned Republicans of the “electoral consequences of defying him.”

“I really think that Republicans that vote against border security and the wall, I think -- you know, I’ve been OK at predicting things -- I think they put themselves at great jeopardy,” Trump told Fox News’ Sean Hannity before 12 Republicans defied him to vote against the declaration. Trump later vetoed the bill.

Reed called on Republicans to review the list of projects affected by the declaration in hopes they will vote to override Trump’s veto.

“What President Trump is doing is a slap in the face to our military that makes our border and the country less secure. He is planning to take funds from real, effective operational priorities and needed projects and divert them to his vanity wall,” Reed said in a statement. “A bipartisan majority of Congress went on record in voting to rebuke this ill-conceived idea. Now that members of Congress can see the potential impact this proposal could have on projects in their home states, I hope they will take that into consideration before the vote to override the President’s veto.”

By Igor Derysh

Igor Derysh is Salon's managing editor. His work has also appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Boston Herald and Baltimore Sun.

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