- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 28, 2020

The Trump administration notified Congress this week that it will try to refill the money it took from Pentagon accounts to use to build the border wall by cutting European defense assistance.

The move angered Democrats on Capitol Hill, who said President Trump is playing games with the Defense Department’s money, moving money to further his own ends and ignoring what Congress intended.

To make matters worse, they said, is the European Defense Initiative is a signal of support for U.S. allies against Russian aggression, and cutting the money is dangerous.

“Once again, the Trump administration is putting domestic political considerations ahead of national security, and Trump is trampling on Congress’ power of the purse in the process,” said Reps. Nita M. Lowey of New York and Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, chairs of the full House Appropriations Committee and its military construction spending subcommittee, respectively.

Mr. Trump over the last two years has siphoned about $10 billion from other Pentagon accounts to go toward his border wall plans.

One target for his cuts was military construction projects.

The administration had insisted none of the projects would actually be delayed, as long as Congress replaced the money. Democrats on Capitol Hill refused, saying to do so would be to “bless” the president’s cash grab.

Now, the Defense Department has decided to reprogram money again to refill some of those cuts on its own, taking the funds from the EDI.

Mr. Trump had proposed cutting EDI funding in fiscal year 2020, but Congress rebuffed that attempt.

• Stephen Dinan can be reached at sdinan@washingtontimes.com.

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