This week, the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) issued a document identifying hundreds of military construction projects subject to cancellation to free up resources to help pay for the president’s border wall. Democrat Congressman Brian Higgins is continuing to object to the emergency declaration, which Higgins said would pull billions of dollars from projects supporting the military, including potentially a $14 million training and fitness center at the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station.
Higgins said, “United States military members here at home and across the globe will take a huge hit if the president’s emergency declaration proceeds. In Western New York we are at risk of losing a project designed to support military readiness and lose the jobs and economic benefits that come with a major construction investment in our community. The president’s unnecessary declaration represents an overt overreach of power, and the outstanding men and women who dedicate themselves to service will be left paying the price.”
Funding for over 400 projects slated to take place at military bases and instillations across the U.S. and abroad has been identified by the DOD and is now at risk of being revoked to pay for the wall. Not all military construction projects identified on the list will be cut, but it represents the pool of work that may be stopped to fund the wall. Projects range from the fitness-training center in Niagara Falls to air traffic control towers, fire stations, communications centers, airfield upgrades and simulators.
The Military Construction Codification Act (10 U.S.C. § 2808) authorizes the administration to reallocate funds for construction projects during a national emergency if the project is “necessary to support” a “use of the armed forces” and qualifies as a “military construction project.” The president issued a national emergency declaration using this statute.
On Feb. 26, Higgins was among a bipartisan majority in the House of Representatives voting to overturn the president’s emergency declaration. In a bipartisan vote, the Senate voted to block the National Emergency Act on March 14. The president vetoed the bills approved by Democrats and Republicans in the House and Senate on March 15. Next week, the House will vote to override that veto.