Defense Department vs. Congressional Committee

US Congress on Capitol Hill, Washington DC. Photo by Bjoertvedt

On Monday Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan informed Congress that he “authorized the commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to begin planning and executing up to $1 billion in support to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Customs and Border Protection.”

According to the statement, the funds would be used to, “support DHS’s request to build 57 miles of 18-foot-high pedestrian fencing, constructing and improving roads, and installing lighting within the Yuma and El Paso Sectors of the border in support of the February 15 national emergency declaration on the southern border of the United States.”

On Tuesday the Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith (D-WA) responded to the notification sent by the Department of Defense.

In the formal letter Smith explains that the committee has denied the request to reprogram the $1 Billion to “construct additional physical barriers and roads or install lighting in the vicinity of the United States border.”

In his statement, Smith said, the “DoD is attempting to circumvent Congress and the American people’s opposition to using taxpayer money for the construction of an unnecessary wall, and the military is paying the cost.”

The Military Times explains that the denial from the Committee “sets the stage for a potential legal challenge, based on DoD’s reasoning for selecting the fund in the first place.”

The article goes on to explain, “The $1 billion was to be pulled from the Pentagon’s counterdrug account, which allows its use to construct some fencing and lighting, but may not support a full wall.”

The article notes that Defense Officials in past discussions selected the counterdrug account because, “they believed it could be used without getting reprogramming permission from Congress, due to the intended use of the funds.”

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About Tiff 2011 Articles
Member of the Free Press who is politically homeless and a political junkie.