This article is written from a Democratic point of view.
Former Washington Journalist
Contributor on The Bipartisan Press
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The acting secretary of defense is refusing a direct request to reveal which military budgets Donald Trump would “ransack” in order to build the wall Trump wants on the southern border, said Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.).
Kaine, the Democrats’ 2016 vice presidential nominee, said he asked Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan to reveal which specific military projects would be impacted by Trump’s decision to use his powers under a declaration of a “state of emergency” in order to bypass Congress and essentially raid the military budget as funding for his long-sought border wall.
“I’m on the [Senate] Armed services committee. I represent Virginia. I have a child in the military. So I sent a letter on February 15th to the secretary of defense and said, ‘If you’re going to ransack the Pentagon’s budget, tell me what projects you’re going to cut or delay or eliminate.’ They wouldn’t provide an answer,” Kaine said Sunday during a segment of the CBS News program “Face The Nation.”
Congress responded to Trump’s “emergency” declaration by passing a resolution of disapproval to cancel that “state of emergency,” a resolution which Trump has now vetoed. Congress has now set up an attempt to override Trump’s veto.
“At the hearing on Thursday, we’re now going to vote that day on whether we support or reject the emergency declaration, and they still hadn’t answered our question: What projects are at stake?
“At the hearing [Shanahan] said, ‘Oh, I’ll send you the list later this afternoon,’ and you’re right, I kind of blew up at him,” Kaine said. “You’re going to give us the list after we vote? This is highly relevant to the vote about the president’s emergency declaration. What projects are you going to ransack out of the Pentagon budget? Is it going to be military housing? Is it going to be trying to make our bases safer from terrorism with construction projects? Is it going to be rebuilding the air force base that got blitzed in the hurricanes last fall? And they said they would give us the list after, but to add insult to injury, they had to walk that back.
“They don’t even want to give us the list now at all because we’re going to have to have an override vote. I don’t think the White House wants us to see the list before the override vote,” Kaine added.
If a specific list of military projects impacted by Trump’s “emergency” declaration were to become public, that could cause more congressional Republicans to turn against Trump’s “emergency,” and increase the potential that his veto could be overriden stopping his “emergency” and any immediate plans for wall construction to be stopped dead.