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Rep. Gallego Statement on Redirection of DOD Funds for Imminent Border Wall Construction

May 9, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Ariz.) released the following statement in response to testimony given by Defense Secretary Pat Shanahan in Congress yesterday. In a Senate Defense Appropriations subcommittee hearing, Shanahan testified that the Pentagon had redirected enough money to build 256 miles of wall along the southwest border, including 63 miles of construction within six months.

Rep. Gallego issued the following statement:

“The news that the Department of Defense is continuing to move forward with ineffectual, expensive and unconstitutional efforts to subvert the will of Congress to build Trump’s wall is not surprising, but it remains disappointing.

“As a Marine and a member of the House Armed Services Committee, I can think of a long list of smart ways that the Pentagon should be spending money. Construction of Trump’s expensive and unnecessary border wall is nowhere near that list.

“In Iraq, I saw firsthand the devastation and loss of life that results when our troops aren’t given the proper equipment to protect themselves and fight our enemies. But instead of using funds to keep our service members safe and to support critical defense programs that safeguard our national security, the Trump administration is stealing already-limited resources from our troops to fulfill an ill-advised campaign promise that will do nothing to protect our country.

“Trump’s wall has never been about border security. Trump’s wall is about dividing Americans and playing upon the racial fears and anxiety he has drummed up and amplified to rally his base. Instead of playing into this dangerous narrative, we should be discussing real, humane solutions to help mitigate the humanitarian crisis at our nation’s doorstep.

“I intend to do my part in the coming months to stop the president from harming military service members, sapping the readiness of our forces, and weakening the strength of our military by using it to advance racist and unconstitutional policies like this one.”

Rep. Gallego has actively opposed a wall on our southern border and has led the fight over the past two years to prevent President Trump from recklessly redirecting military funds to build it. He has written op-eds, given floor speeches, hosted press conferences, and introduced two amendments – one of which passed the House Armed Services Committee unanimously – to prevent this president from using funds meant for our troops to build his wall.