Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) joined Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and 30 other Senators to introduce the Restoring Military Priorities Act of 2020. The bill would reverse and restore the Department of Defense’s (DoD) recent short–sighted and dangerous transfer of $3.8 billion to be used to build part of President Donald Trump’s ineffective border wall. The bill also reduces DoD’s transfer authority so that DoD cannot try to divert additional funding for the wall.
“I’m proud of the bipartisan work my colleagues and I have done in Congress to ensure our military has the funding it needs to keep our country safe,” said Senator Cortez Masto. “Unfortunately, President Trump continues to take money from the military to pay for an ineffective, poorly designed border wall. This dangerous reprogramming will hurt our military readiness and could threaten everything from critical aircraft and maintenance programs at Nellis and Creech Air Force Bases to equipment for the National Guard and the Reserve, including the Nevada Air National Guard’s efforts to secure new C-130J aircraft that would support national security missions abroad and critical firefighting missions at home. It’s time Congress stood up and held this President accountable to restore critical national security funding and support our troops.”
The legislation is also cosponsored by Senators Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Doug Jones (D-Ala.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), and Chris Coons (D-Del.).
The most recent DoD reprogramming targeted the men and women of the National Guard and a variety of programs added by Congress to address shortfalls that were in many cases identified by military leaders. This was the third time in less than one year that the Defense Department has used this unilateral process to bypass Congress and divert funding to President Trump’s border wall. In the spring of 2019, the Defense Department transferred $2.5 billion in funding to build part of President Trump’s border wall, and the President later raided an additional $3.6 billion in military construction funds for his wall. Earlier this month, the Defense Department reprogrammed another $3.8 billion from the men and women of the National Guard and a variety of programs added by Congress to address shortfalls that were in many cases identified by military leaders in critical equipment.
In January, it was reported that President Trump intends to raid $7.2 billion in DoD funds this year to pay for his wall, diverting funding from military families and forcing American taxpayers to pay for his vanity project and failed campaign promise. In a recent letter, members of the Nevada congressional delegation made a request to the United States Air Force for additional support equipment in the form of C-130J aircraft that could help the state address and fight the threat of wildfires. The President’s recent actions could potentially threaten Nevada’s ability to receive this critical support.
Full text of the legislation is available here.