Congress Would Be Asked to Re-Fund Emergency-Impacted Milcon Projects

Congress Would Be Asked to Re-Fund Emergency-Impacted Milcon Projects

The Trump administration’s fiscal year 2020 budget request will ask Congress to re-fund any military construction projects delayed because of the President’s emergency declaration to build a border wall, DOD leaders told lawmakers Wednesday.

Robert McMahon, assistant secretary of defense for sustainment, said in his testimony that DOD is still waiting for the Department of Homeland Security to specify how military construction funds would be used on the border before deciding whether to exercise the Section 2808 authority that would divert money previously appropriated for on-base projects.

“At this point, every unobligated dollar in the department is up for consideration,” McMahon said.

Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-Fla.) was overseeing the hearing as chair of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies. She said taking the money then asking Congress to re-allocate it was a way to “circumvent” the legislative branch and asked specifically about recapitalization plans at Air Force Base Tyndall, which was devastated by Hurricane Michael.

McMahon said that no milcon projects would be called off permanently and that the ones most likely to be delayed if necessary are those that do not impact readiness.

The subcommittee also heard from each service’s assistant secretary overseeing installations. Their prepared testimony and video of the hearing are online.

The House passed a resolution this week that disapproves of the emergency declaration and would reverse the milcon cuts. Even if it passes the Senate, neither chamber seems to have enough votes to override a promised veto.

 

U.S. Reps. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz and Neal Dunn at Naval Support Activity Panama City. U.S. Navy Photo by Boatswain’s Mate 1st Class Taylor Baxley

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