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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.”
Search efforts are underway to find a West Point cadet, who has gone missing along with his M4 carbine, the U.S. Military Academy announced on Sunday.
"There is no indication the Cadet poses a threat to the public, but he may be a danger to himself," a West Point news release says.
Academy officials do not believe the missing cadet has access to any magazines or ammunition, according to the news release, which did not identify the cadet, who is a member of the Class of 2021.
Three soldiers were killed and another three injured when their Bradley Fighting Vehicle rolled over during a training exercise at Fort Stewart in Georgia on Sunday morning, Army officials announced.
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Esper's trip to Kabul comes amid questions about the United States' commitments to allies after a sudden withdrawal of U.S. troops from northeastern Syria and Trump's long-time desire to get out of foreign engagements.
Mark Esper is the third person after James Mattis and Patrick Shanahan to helm the Pentagon since Donald Trump became president, and he's apparently not making much of an impression on the commander-and-chief.
On Sunday, Trump sent a very real tweet on "Secretary Esperanto," which is either a reference to a constructed international language developed more than 130 years ago and only spoken on the PA system in Gattaca or an egregious instance of autocorrect.
This rifle could be a dark horse candidate for the Army's next-generation squad weapon — and you can snag one next year
The Army says it's settled on three defense contractors to battle it out to become the service's M4 carbine and M249 Squad Automatic Weapon replacements, but at least one other company is hoping that a bit of consumer approval could help upset the competition.