WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Tuesday approved the use of $3.6 billion in funding from military construction projects to build 175 miles of President Donald Trump's wall along the Mexican border.
On Wednesday Virginia Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine condemned the Trump Administration’s plans. Virginia's U.S. House Representative Elaine Luria also condemned the plans.
Pentagon officials would not say which 127 projects will be affected. They said half the money will come from military projects in the U.S., and the rest will come from projects in other countries.
The Department of Defense informed Warner and Kaine that the Trump administration plans to take the following funding away from military construction projects in Virginia:
- Cyber Operations Facility at Joint Base Langley-Eustis will lose $10,000,000.
- Navy Ships Maintenance Facility in Portsmouth will lose $26,120,000.
- A project to replace a hazardous materials warehouse in Norfolk will lose $18,500,000.
- A project to replace a hazardous materials warehouse in Portsmouth will lose $22,500,000.
“The decision by the President to divert funding meant to support U.S. national security interests so that he can build a border wall only makes us less safe,” said Warner. “Taking money away from our military – including funding to support critical projects here in Virginia – will mean we are less equipped to tackle threats here at home and abroad.”
Since initial plans were revealed earlier this year, Congresswoman Luria, and Sens. Kaine and Warner have been outspoken in rejecting the Trump administration’s plan to move military funding toward wall construction at the Southern Border.
“I’m deeply concerned about President Trump’s plan to pull funding from critical national security projects – including millions of dollars from important projects in Virginia – so he can build his border wall. The well-being of American troops is the core responsibility of every commander in the military, yet the Commander-in-Chief is shirking that duty so he can advance his own political agenda,” said Kaine.
According to the Pentagon, the money will be used to build 11 border projects and will involve either replacing existing barriers or adding secondary fencing in key areas. The projects involve border sections on Defense Department land, federal land, and private property.
One of the first projects will likely be the construction of barriers at the Barry M. Goldwater Air Force Range in Arizona because the land is already owned and controlled by the Pentagon.
“Pulling funding from the military makes our nation less safe and more vulnerable,” Congresswoman Luria said. “Peak military readiness, critical modernization projects, and disaster recovery are top national security priorities in Hampton Roads and beyond. The administration should protect initiatives that keep Virginia and America safe.”