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Key Democrat To Trump: No, The Military Isn't Going To Build Your Border Wall
A top Democrat in Congress has vowed that lawmakers will block any attempt by the Trump administration to use U.S. service members to build a wall along the southwestern border with Mexico.
“We can certainly put legislation in that says no Department of Defense money should go towards the wall – that would include using our soldiers as part of the effort to build the wall,” said Rep. Adam Smith (D-Wash.), who is likely to be the next chairman of the House Armed Services Committee.
Both Democrats and Republicans in Congress would oppose using U.S. troops or money from the Defense Department’s budget to build such a border wall, Smith told reporters at a Defense Writers Group breakfast on Wednesday.
Smith said he does not think the Pentagon’s proposed budget for fiscal 2020 includes border wall funding, but he is not sure because the budget has not been submitted to Congress yet.
“It’s a question that isn’t really worth asking because the president will send up his budget and we’ll see – and if there is wall funding in it, we’ll all flip out and say, ‘You can’t do that,’” Smith said.
President Trump tweeted on Tuesday that he may use the military to build a wall along the U.S./Mexico border of Democrats in Congress do not appropriate the estimated $5 billion needed to build the barrier.
So far, the president has not asked the Defense Department to build sections of the wall, but the military is allowed to build border barriers under certain circumstances, Army Lt. Col. Jamie Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, said on Tuesday.
Smith took aim at the president’s campaign promise that Mexico would build the border wall, noting that Trump now is threatening to shut down the government if taxpayers don’t foot the bill.
“Why in the name God are we shutting down the U.S. government because we won’t pay for it?” Smith said at Wednesday’s breakfast. “The president promised us that we wouldn’t have to. I want someone to ask him – preferable every second of every day from now until we get this resolved – why is he breaking his promise?”
More than 10 years ago, the U.S. government built a barrier along part of the southwestern border, but a lot of the property where the president wants to extend the wall either private property or it belongs to Native American tribes or the elevation is too high to build a wall there, Smith said.
While Smith agreed that border security is important, he argued that the main challenge facing civil authorities is from asylum seekers, not illegal immigrants.
“You don’t need to build more security because folks are not trying to sneak in,” he said. “They’re turning themselves in. I don’t deny there is a problem. There has been a significant increase in people seeking asylum, but the solution to that is not to harden the border. The solution to that is to hire more judges and expedite the process for how you get through it.”
'We are dropping like flies' — Former fighter pilots are pushing the Pentagon for earlier cancer screenings
WASHINGTON — Former Air Force and Navy fighter pilots are calling on the military to begin cancer screenings for aviators as young as 30 because of an increase in deaths from the disease that they suspect may be tied to radiation emitted in the cockpit.
"We are dropping like flies in our 50s from aggressive cancers," said retired Air Force Col. Eric Nelson, a former F-15E Strike Eagle weapons officer. He cited prostate and esophageal cancers, lymphoma, and glioblastomas that have struck fellow pilots he knew, commanded or flew with.
Army and Air Force Exchange Service officials are warning soldiers and military families to be aware of scammers using the Exchange's logo.
In a news release Wednesday, Exchange officials said scammers using the name "Exchange Inc." have "fooled" soldiers and airmen to broker the sale of used cars, trucks, motorcycles, boats and boat engines.
KABUL (Reuters) - The Islamic State (IS) militant group claimed responsibility on Sunday for a suicide blast at a wedding reception in Afghanistan that killed 63 people, underlining the dangers the country faces even if the Taliban agrees a pact with the United States.
The Saturday night attack came as the Taliban and the United States try to negotiate an agreement on the withdrawal of U.S. forces in exchange for a Taliban commitment on security and peace talks with Afghanistan's U.S.-backed government.
Islamic State fighters, who first appeared in Afghanistan in 2014 and have since made inroads in the east and north, are not involved in the talks. They are battling government and U.S.-led international forces and the Taliban.
The group, in a statement on the messaging website Telegram, claimed responsibility for the attack at a west Kabul wedding hall in a minority Shi'ite neighborhood, saying its bomber had been able to infiltrate the reception and detonate his explosives in the crowd of "infidels".
Calling aviation geeks in New York City: The British are coming.
In their first visit to the United States since 2008, the Royal Air Force "Red Arrows" will perform an aerial demonstration next week over the Hudson River, according to an Air Force news release. F-35 Joint Strike Fighters, the Air Force Thunderbirds and Navy Blue Angels demonstration teams will also be part of the show.
Frances and Efrain Santiago, natives of Puerto Rico, wanted to show their support last month for protesters back home seeking to oust the island's governor.
The couple flew the flag of Puerto Rico on the garage of their Kissimmee home. It ticked off the homeowners association.
Someone from the Rolling Hills Estates Homeowners Association left a letter at their home, citing a "flag violation" and warning: "Please rectify the listed violation or you may incur a fine."
Frances Santiago, 38, an Army veteran, demanded to know why.