President Renews Border Emergency and Reprograms DOD Funds

President Trump on Thursday renewed a state of emergency he declared on February 15, 2019 (Proclamation 9844), which he used to reprogram $6.1B in FY19 funds from the Department of Defense to his border wall. Last year’s declaration followed a five-week government shutdown and the President’s failure to convince Congress to fund his border wall at his requested amount. In the emergency declaration renewal this week, the President claimed that the “ongoing border security and humanitarian crisis at the southern border of the United States continues to threaten our national security.”

The Pentagon then sent to Congress an FY20 reprogramming request seeking to transfer $3.831B from weapons systems into the counter-drug account that the administration has used to build the border wall. The reprogramming request is split between regular budget ($2.202B) and overseas contingency operations account ($1.629B). All of the reprogrammed funds are from items that were specifically added by Congress (Republicans and Democrats) during the FY20 defense authorization and appropriations process. 

The $3.831B reprogramming request is as follows:


  • $100m from Army National Guard HMMWV Modernization
  • $101m from Heavy Expanded Mobile Tactical Truck Ext Serv


  • $223m would come out of the Navy’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program under contract to Lockheed Martin
  • $155m would come out of the V-22 Osprey program, made by Boeing Co. and Textron Inc.
  • $180m from Boeing’s P-8A Poseidon aircraft program
  • Shipbuilding would lose $911m: $650m from a program to replace amphibious assault ship, LHA; and $261m from the Expeditionary Fast Transport program

Air Force

  • The Air Force would lose $156m from F-35 advanced procurement funds and $196m from Lockheed’s C-130J transport aircraft
  • The Observation Attack Replacement (OA-X) Light Attack Aircraft program would give up $180m
  • From OCO: $169m would come out of the CH-130J and $160m from the MQ-9 drone program made by General Atomics

National Guard and Reserve Equipment

  • $205m from miscellaneous equipment, Army Reserve
  • $75m from miscellaneous equipment, Navy Reserve
  • $25m from miscellaneous equipment, Marine Corps Reserve
  • $205m from miscellaneous equipment, Air Force Reserve
  • $395m from miscellaneous equipment, Army National Guard
  • $395m from miscellaneous equipment, Air National Guard

In response to the reprogramming action, House Armed Services Committee Ranking Republican Mac Thornberry (R-TX) said, “Congress has the constitutional responsibility to determine how defense dollars are spent…The re-programming announced today is contrary to Congress’s constitutional authority, and I believe that it requires Congress to take action. I will be working with my colleagues to determine the appropriate steps to take.” And House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita M. Lowey (D-NY) and Defense Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Pete Visclosky (D-IN) said that the President is “disrespecting the separation of powers and endangering our security by raiding military resources to pay for his wasteful border wall.”

Rep. Visclosky sent a letter to Acting Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller)/Chief Financial Officer Elaine McCusker saying that the House Appropriations Committee denied the Pentagon’s reprogramming request. However, appropriators also denied a similar $1B request in May 2019 that the administration ignored and moved the money anyway. Historically, administration officials have asked appropriators for permission before reprogramming funds, however it’s tradition and not a matter of law.

Department of Defense Reprogramming Notice

President Trump’s Emergency Declaration Renewal

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