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WASHINGTON, D.C. April 28, 2020 – House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith (D-Wash.) today issued the following statement after the Trump Administration notified Congress that it intends to partially backfill military construction projects that were robbed to fund the border wall by pilfering additional funding from the European Deterrence Initiative and other overseas projects, diverting focus from the COVID-19 response:

“As this Administration continues to gut projects that are critical to our national security, it is clear no matter how many billions President Trump steals for his vanity wall on the southern border it will never be enough. The Administration still has $2 billion in unobligated military construction funds that they redirected for the wall last year. Rather than moving these funds back to the military construction projects they were originally intended for, the Administration continues to find ways to adversely impact projects that support military readiness and deterrence in Europe.

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“The President falsely takes credit for ‘rebuilding’ the military, when in reality his theft of DoD dollars has led to the cancellation of 128 military construction projects both at home and abroad. Now – despite Congress’ refusal to endorse this theft – the Trump Administration is attempting to backfill these projects by cutting funding for the European Deterrence Initiative and other overseas projects. Our partners and allies rely on the support of EDI funds to prevent Russian aggression in the region and these cuts will have real, lasting effects on our national security.

“Furthermore, we know the border wall simply does not work. The wall has already been cut through, tunneled under, swept away by floods, and blown over by winds. It is an embarrassing waste of taxpayer dollars.

“As the country grapples with a once-in-a-generation health crisis, the full power of the federal government should be focused on one thing: our collective response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, thanks to this Administration’s wasteful policies, the US Army Corps of engineers and other DoD elements that could be focused on COVID-19 are still working to help execute a campaign promise that does nothing to support our national security.”