On April 11th, several Democrats on the House Armed Services Committee sent a letter to Secretary of Defense James Mattis on the issue of using Pentagon money to build a border wall.
At Taxpayers for Common Sense we’ve been highly critical of recent attempts to siphon money from the Pentagon to pay for a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) project. Last year, the House Armed Services Committee included language in the Defense policy bill that would have prevented Pentagon money from being spent on a border wall. The language was included on a bipartisan basis. Then a highly unusual parliamentary sleight-of-hand was used to strike that language. We found the maneuver buried in a Rules Committee document and spearheaded efforts to stop the boondoggle.
Thankfully the Defense Appropriations bill, which actually divvies up the federal spending pie and sets where and how money will be spent, did not appropriate any Pentagon money for that purpose.
The president is pushing the idea of using Pentagon dollars for the wall, arguing that after the huge boost in the 2018 Omnibus spending bill, the Pentagon is “rich.” (We agree, but not in a good way).
We agree 100 percent with the point the authors of the letter are making, “…building a border wall would not measurably strengthen our homeland security and would be excessively costly, harmful, and a waste of taxpayer resources.”
The Members of Congress end by asking the secretary to inform them of his intended next steps on the issue. We’ll be waiting to see if Secretary Mattis responds and we’ll be ready to write about it if he does.