Visclosky objects to $1 billion in defense funds going to border wall

NWI Times

A congressional committee led by Rep. Pete Visclosky is not pleased with $1 billion in defense funds being moved to pay for a southern border wall.

Visclosky, D-Gary, chairman of the House’s Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, on Tuesday told the Department of Defense, it did not approve a transfer $1 billion from other programs to pay for a wall on the United States’ southern border. While the Department of Defense is moving forward with moving those funds, Visclosky said bucking of precedent will be remembered.

“This unprecedented action will clearly be a consideration as the committee disposes the entirety of the department’s budget request, including its current transfer authority,” Visclosky said.

Visclosky said the Constitution gives Congress power to appropriate funds, and funding adjustments have been left to the House for oversight of executive branch requests.

President Donald Trump signed an emergency declaration to leverage money to fund a border wall after the money he sought was no included in a budget deal that ended a lengthy government shutdown. The House of Representatives and Senate later rejected Trump’s emergency declaration but the president vetoed the measure.

The Department of Defense presented the House committee with a reprogramming request that would move $1 billion from a military, personnel, Army and Army Reserve accounts to a drug interdiction and counter-drug activities account.

“The committee denies the request,” Visclosky wrote to Under Secretary of Defense David Norquist.

In the letter, Visclosky told Norquist reprogramming those funds would deny Congress and the committee their “constitutional prerogatives.”

“These funds were neither requested nor appropriated for the activities described in the reprogramming,” Visclosky wrote. “With this unilateral action, the historic and unprecedented comity that has existed between the committee and the department has been breached.”