UPDATE: Trump to Defund Hawai‘i Military Projects
UPDATE: Sept. 4, 2019, 5:34 p.m.
US Sen. Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawai‘i) released a statement after the Trump Administration announced that it would raid military funds in Hawai‘i to pay for President Donald Trump’s border wall.
“It is now clear to all of us that Donald Trump and his complicit allies in Congress will sacrifice projects crucial for military readiness in order to appease his base and build his vanity wall.
“The Trump Administration’s cuts to military construction projects for service members in Hawaii include a critical repair to the Marine Corps Base Hawaii perimeter and improvements to an Air Force training facility that is necessary to maintain readiness.
“Our men and women in uniform took an oath to put their lives on the line in service to our country. The least they deserve in return is a commitment to provide the resources they need to fulfill their duty, and I will continue to fight to see this funding restored.”
The Department of Defense informed Sen. Hirono that the Trump Administration will take the following funding away from military projects in Hawai‘i:
· $26.5 million for security improvements to Mokapu Gate at Marine Corps Base Hawaii
· $5.5 million for a Consolidated Training Facility at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam
ORIGINAL POST: Sept. 4, 2019, 4:34 p.m.
US Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i) and US Rep. Ed Case (D-Hawai‘i) both criticized President Donald Trump on Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2019, after the administration announced it would defund two Hawai‘i-based military projects to help pay for a wall on the United States’ border with Mexico.
The projects in Hawai‘i the administration intends to defund are part of a larger move by the White House to divert $3.6 billion in already-appropriate funds from various initiatives.
According to releases from both Congressmen’s offices, funding being funneled away from Hawai‘i will come from major projects.
The first is $26.5 million originally appropriated to build a new perimeter gate at Marine Corps Base Hawai‘i on Mokapu Road, providing the installation with enhanced security improvements to meet anti-terrorism and force protection requirements to protect marines and their families.
The project was included as a high priority on the Marine Corps’ fiscal year (FY) 2018 unfunded requirements list and Congress appropriated funding for it in FY 2018.
The second is $5.5 million originally appropriated to build a facility for the 624th Regional Support Group staff and 624th Aeromedical Staging Squadron at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. The new space was intended to provide the units with training classrooms, nursing service space, mobility training bag storage, aerospace medicine packaging and other essential storage.
The Air Force Reserve is currently operating from two facilities, located remotely from each other, which are not adequately sized or designed to meet Air Force mission requirements, according to the releases.
Congress appropriated funding for this project in FY 2018 and DoD’s decision to cancel the project will harm the Air Force Reserve’s ability to support the medical missions and capabilities of the units they directly support on Hawai‘i and Guam, as well as worldwide, a release from Sen. Schatz office contended.
“By defunding a key security project at Kaneohe Bay, one the Marine Corps told Congress was a high priority, this president has made it clear that the safety of our service members and their families are less important than his wall,” Sen. Schatz said. “Congress trusts that when Department of Defense asks for money, it’s because they need it. But that trust has now been eroded.”
Rep. Case doubled down on Schatz’s comments.
“This attempted raid on already-funded projects by the President is not only a subversion of the authority of Congress but will compromise military readiness and security and lower morale across the Department of Defense,” he said. “The Congress did not authorize $3.6 billion to pay for a border wall.”
The two projects are among 127 military construction projects based in the U.S. and overseas.
The question of whether the President has exceeded his authority in trying to divert the funding is currently pending in the federal courts of appeal after the federal district court ordered an injunction against the President’s earlier effort.