Congress asked the Defense Department for a list of all military construction projects that could be defunded to pay for the wall. Instead, the Pentagon provided lawmakers with a list of every single military construction project that has yet to be awarded a contract — including those that are exempt from being used to pay for the border wall.
Confused? You’re not alone.
Here’s the backstory: Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) asked for the list of at risk construction projects on March 14. Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan promised Reed that the Pentagon would give him the list that day – it didn’t.
That’s because such a list list may not exist in the universe that we live in, as Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney told CBS’ “Face The Nation” on Sunday
But on Monday, after Shanahan told reporters that the list had been provided by Congress (it hadn’t), Reed released a 21-page document of military construction projects that is about as clear as mud. It includes barracks construction, which defense officials have repeatedly said will not be cut to pay for the border wall, and facilities for F-35s, which are likely too high a priority to be sacrificed.
The Pentagon included a brief cover letter with helpful clues for members of Congress – and the rest of the public – to try to figure out which military construction projects should not be on the list:
- “No military construction projects that already have been awarded, and no military construction projects with FY 2019 award dates will be impacted”
- “No military housing, barracks, or dormitory projects will be impacted.
- “The pool of potential military construction projects from which funding could be reallocated to support the construction of border barriers are solely projects with award dates after Sept. 30, 2019.”
So, if you’ve got a few hours to kill and you’re a rocket scientist, who has read every past statement about Pentagon officials indicating which projects are likely exempt, have fun going through this list and figuring out what might get cut for the border wall.