WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today joined his Senate Democratic colleagues in introducing the Restoring Military Priorities Act of 2020, which would reverse and restore the Department of Defense’s (DoD) recent short sighted and dangerous transfer of $3.8 billion to be used to build part of President Trump’s ineffective and inefficient border wall. The bill also reduces DoD’s transfer authority so that DoD cannot turn around and try to divert additional funding for President Trump’s border wall. Currently, there is no other process at hand to reverse a reprogramming.
President Trump has continued to raid DoD funds to pay for his wall. Last year, Congress made key investments in our nation’s defense and national security through military installations around the state. This fund transfer could potentially jeopardize whether Youngstown Air Reserve Station (YARS) will receive the C-130J aircraft, and upgrade from the C-130H currently flown there.
“The President’s decision to take funding away from our military to support his vanity project is reckless and irresponsible. Last year, Congress made key investments in our nation’s defense and national security through military installations around the state. The possibility that the C-130J aircraft could be in jeopardy, is a slap in the face to the Youngstown Air Reserve Station, and the Mahoning Valley. This legislation will allow us to fight against the continued attempts by President Trump to rob our defense priorities of funding so that he can score political points,” said Brown.
The most recent DoD reprogramming targeted the National Guard and a variety of programs added by Congress to address shortfalls that were in many cases identified by military leaders. This was the third time in less than one year that the Defense Department has used this unilateral process to bypass Congress and divert funding to President Trump’s border wall.
In the spring of 2019, the Defense Department transferred $2.5 billion in funding to be used to build part of President Trump’s border wall, and the President later raided an additional $3.6 billion in military construction funds for his wall. Earlier this month, the Defense Department reprogrammed another $3.8 billion from the men and women of the National Guard and a variety of programs added by Congress to address shortfalls that were in many cases identified by military leaders in critical equipment.
In January, it was reported that President Trump intends to raid $7.2 billion in DoD funds this year to pay for his wall, diverting funding from military families and forcing American taxpayers to pay for his vanity project and failed campaign promise.
The bill was introduced by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL). Senator Brown is an original cosponsor of the legislation, alongside Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Jack Reed (D-RI), Brian Schatz (D-HI), and Doug Jones (D-AL), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Patty Murray (D-WA), Jon Tester (D-MT), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Bob Casey (D-PA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Mark Warner (D-VA), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Tom Udall (D-NM), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Catherine Cortez-Masto (D-NV), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Tom Carper (D-DE), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), and Chris Coons (D-DE).
Full text of the legislation is available here.