Senator Brian Schatz, the top Democrat on the Senate Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Subcommittee, released the following statement after the Trump administration announced it would defund two military projects in Hawaii to pay for a wall on the southern border.
“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.
“Congress trusts that when Department of Defense asks for money, it’s because they need it. But that trust has now been eroded.
“I will strongly oppose any request by this administration to provide additional money for the projects it intends to defund. The American people cannot be asked to foot the bill a second time for projects that this administration has decided to funnel money away from to pay for wall that will do nothing to end the humanitarian crisis on the southern border or protect our national security.”
Funding being funneled away from Hawaii include:
- $26.5 million originally appropriated to build a new perimeter gate at Marine Corps Base Hawaii 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 FY2018.
- $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. Congress appropriated funding for this project in fiscal year 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 Hawaii and Guam, as well as worldwide.