In a move Rep. Pramila Jayapal decried as yet another reason to “refuse to give the Defense Department $733 billion” in funding, the Pentagon on Friday reportedly approved a plan to divert $1.5 billion from its endless war budget to help pay for the construction of 80 miles of wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.
“Obviously they don’t need” the funds, tweeted Jayapal, “because they keep diverting billions, without congressional authorization, to Trump’s vanity wall.”
As NBC News reported, Congress was notified of the Pentagon’s plan to shift the funds on Friday.
“It follows the Pentagon’s decision in March to transfer $1 billion from Army personnel budget accounts to support wall construction,” according to NBC. “The combined total of $2.5 billion is in response to President Donald Trump’s declaration of a national emergency at the border.”
As Common Dreams reported last month, Jayapal—co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus—has led the opposition to Democratic leaders’ attempt to increase Pentagon spending to $733 billion for fiscal year 2020 without hiking social spending by the same amount.
Progressive backlash forced House Democratic leaders to cancel a vote on their budget measure last month.
“We need to prioritize our communities, not our military spending,” Jayapal tweeted at the time. “Progressives aren’t backing down from this fight.”
In response to the Pentagon’s latest diversion of funds from its war budget to construction of Trump’s border wall, progressive activist Jonathan Cohn tweeted a simple suggestion: “Defund both.”
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