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Schwartz writes: "It's no secret that President Donald Trump's emergency declaration to fund his border wall between the United States and Mexico will rely heavily on Defense Department money to kickstart construction. But, according to Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, we now have a better idea of just where in the Pentagon that money will reportedly come from: The Troops, themselves."

Supporter holds a sign as Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a rally February 19, 2016, in Myrtle Beach, S.C. (photo: Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty)
Supporter holds a sign as Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks at a rally February 19, 2016, in Myrtle Beach, S.C. (photo: Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty)


Trump Reportedly Wants to Steal From the Troops to Pay for His Wall

By Rafi Schwartz, Splinter

08 March 19

 

t’s no secret that President Donald Trump’s emergency declaration to fund his border wall between the United States and Mexico will rely heavily on Defense Department money to kickstart construction. But, according to Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, we now have a better idea of just where in the Pentagon that money will reportedly come from: The Troops™, themselves.

Speaking with the Associated Press on Thursday, Durbin, who sits on the Senate Appropriations Committee and was reportedly among a “group of bipartisan lawmakers” who met with acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, asserted that money to fund Trump’s wall will be “coming out of military pay and pensions.”

“$1 billion,” Durbin added. “That’s the plan.” (We reached out to Sen. Richard Shelby, the chair of both the Senate Appropriations committee and subcommittee on Defense, and will update when and if we receive a response.)

As the AP reports, the $1 billion is unspent money that’s accumulated due to underperforming military recruitment efforts and an infrequently used voluntary early retirement fund. So, while not taking money directly out of soldiers’ paychecks, the plan would nevertheless mean less funds to pay future recruits and potential retirees. Per the AP, the money will instead be channeled through the DOD budget into a “drug interdiction” fund, where it will then be applied toward barrier construction.

“This is pay that would have gone to Army recruits that we can’t recruit,” Durbin said. “So there’s a ‘savings’ because we can’t recruit. The other part was they offered a voluntary change in military pensions, and they overestimated how many people would sign up for it.”

Senate Democrats and as many as 15 Republican senators, according to the Hill, have lined up to strike down the president’s emergency declaration, meaning the money might never be transferred away from the Pentagon’s pay and pension budget after all. Trump has signaled he will veto any congressional action against his plan, which would require a 2/3rds majority in both houses to override.

Still, for a president who has made loving The Troops a center point of his presidency, the decision to reallocate pay and pension funds is yet another reminder that Trump is willing to throw anyone under the bus for political (or personal) benefit.

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-1 # HenryS1 2019-03-09 02:01
The article does not make a clear case that these sources of funding are not good places to poach. The left should not use the right's typical vague flag-waving claims to do things "for the troops" if that is not actually true.

I disagree with the wall and with the use of the emergency, but I am not convinced that this is not a rational area to pull funds from, if one is taking funds away from the budget.

It is also an area where the Republicans can get away with it, but if the parties were reversed, the Republicans would be screaming.

But hypocrisy is not the point.

So I would like to see a better argument here, than is offered, before suggesting that the funds come from another place.

Understand, I would rather they not be taken, but if they ARE to be taken from somewhere in Defense, there is some merit to this choice choice of funds, it seems to me.
 
 
+1 # DongiC 2019-03-09 04:21
President Trump is single minded in pursuing his own path. He lets nothing get in the way and will commit all his energy to building that god damned wall. He is a moron and only made it to the White House because he cheated. Big time!
 
 
+2 # futhark 2019-03-09 06:36
As with so many aspects of the Trump Administrations plans, including the billionaire's tax cut, the reckless expansion of military hardware, and now the wall that he promised Mexico would pay for, the true sources of revenue is placed squarely on the backs of those least able to bear additional burdens. We can add Trump's repeated declaration of support for military personnel to his growing mountain egregious prevarications.

Shortchanging the troops happens to be much in the news these days.

https://www.army.mil/article/217478/army_senior_leaders_meet_with_fort_meade_residents_soldiers_and_housing_staff

https://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/usa-military-developer/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VWft2lzDU7E

Who would want to volunteer for a job that not only put one's life on the line, but also involved being imposed upon and degraded for the benefit of a patently inept and dishonest leader?
 

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