Trump Just Robbing The Troops To Pay For WALL Again, Totally Normal
We're building the wall! And who's gonna pay for it? That's right, it's our military and their families. PROMISES KEPT!
Last year, after a 35-day shutdown, Donald Trump agreed to accept just $1.4 billion in WALLbux from Congress. After which, he promptly declared a state of emergency to justify raiding military construction funds for another $3.6 billion and demanded that congressional Democrats "backfill" the money to prove they don't "hate the troops." And now he'd like to steal that money again, plus a whole lot more. The Washington Post reports that this year's heist will net $7.2 billion of Pentagon funding that had been allocated to anti-narcotic programming and military construction.
Trump took $2.5 billion from military counterdrug programs for border barrier construction in 2019, but this year his administration is planning to take significantly more — $3.5 billion. Trump administration officials also are planning to take $3.7 billion in military construction funding, slightly more than the $3.6 billion diverted in 2019.
Emboldened by the green light from the US Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, which lifted a lower court stay on spending the filched cash, the White House is racing to get some substantial portion of the border fencing up so that Trump can claim credit for it at his pitchfork rallies. They're no longer even bothering to pretend that Mexico will foot the bill.
So who is paying? Well, if last year's smash and grab is any guide, it will be the people Trump loves to kick the most -- brown Americans with no electoral votes. That's why he axed $400 million from Puerto Rico, $250 million from Guam, and $27 million from the Virgin Islands.
But he also made some less strategic cuts in places like North Carolina and Arizona, purple states where Senators Thom Tillis and Martha McSally have to defend their seats this fall. Mitch McConnell may be able to shrug off the cancellation of a $63 million renovation at Fort Campbell Middle School, but Democrat Mark Kelly immediately hit McSally with ads attacking her for failing to protect the $30 million allocation for Fort Huachuca.
McConnell is unlikely to let Trump make that mistake this time around. Although if the White House wants Congress to "backfill" the $3.6 billion they looted last year in addition to this year's $7.2 billion, out of an annual defense budget of $700 billion ... well, there's not that many more places you can cut without bumping into headlines like "$450 Million Intended to Build Schools on Military Bases Diverted to Build Trump's Border Wall."
Of course, last time around, Trump also targeted money the US had been spending to defend NATO members and Eastern European allies against Russian aggression, money President Obama allocated after Vladimir Putin invaded and stole Crimea. Don't know if those are on the chopping block this time, but we will be sure to wear our very surprised face if All Roads Lead To Putin with this latest WALL stunt!
As for congressional Republicans, they are getting in their obligatory tut-tuts in preparation for the inevitable folding like the cheap suits they are.
That train is never late!
The Post reports that "the funding would give the government enough money to complete about 885 miles of new fencing by spring 2022." That's at odds with a DHS internal report saying construction alone would cost $21.6 billion, not including purchase price for all the private land that would have to be seized.
But don't worry, the Trump administration will do what it always does -- pull the fire alarm and race outside shouting YOU HAVE TO LET US, IT'S A NATIONAL SECURITY EMERGENCY! It's what they did to justify putting tariffs on our allies, assassinating a foreign leader without informing the Gang of Eight, seizing spending power over the Ukraine defense allocation from Congress and then redacting the evidence, and stealing money from military base housing for this stupid wall. Twice.
They only have the one play, and they run it over and over.
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Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.