WASHINGTON— Utah’s two Republican Senators, Mitt Romney and Mike Lee, responded strongly Wednesday after learning funding appropriated by Congress for military construction projects at Hill Air Force Base would instead be spent to construct a wall on the southern border.
It’s the result of President Trump’s February 15, 2019 emergency declaration which ordered the diversion of billions of dollars earmarked for Defense Department construction projects, which Romney and Lee have opposed.
They were informed by the Air Force that $26 million was being diverted from Hill AFB Composite Aircraft Antenna Calibration Facility and another $28 million from the Utah Test and Training Range Consolidated Mission Control Center.
Romney and Lee released separate statements:
“In April, Senator Lee and I expressed our significant concerns to the Secretary of Defense regarding the potential diversion of funds for critical military construction projects in Utah. I’m disappointed that despite those concerns, two key military construction projects totaling $54 million will be delayed as a result of the February 2019 emergency declaration. Funding the border wall is an important priority, and the Executive Branch should use the appropriate channels in Congress, rather than divert already appropriated funding away from military construction projects and therefore undermining military readiness. Congress will have an opportunity to restore this funding in the next budget cycle, and I plan to work with the delegation to fight for funding for these projects, which are essential to Utah’s service members and our national security strategy.”
-Sen. Mitt Romney, (R) Utah
“Congress has been ceding far too much powers to the executive branch for decades and it is far past time for Congress to restore the proper balance of power between the three branches. We should start that process by passing the ARTICLE ONE Act, which would correct the imbalances caused by the National Emergencies Act.”
-Sen. Mike Lee, (R) Utah
The Administration has indicated it plans to request replacement funding for these projects in its fiscal year 2020 budget request. Congress would then have to re-appropriate the funds.