It's 'a dollar-for-dollar theft from other readiness needs of our Armed Forces,' members of the Senate Appropriations Committee said.
The Trump administration is under fire for its decision to divert $1 billion intended for America's military personnel and use it to build Trump's racist border wall.
"The $1 billion reprogramming that the Department is implementing without congressional approval constitutes a dollar-for-dollar theft from other readiness needs of our Armed Forces," read a scathing response letter sent to Shanahan on Monday from ten Democrats on the Senate Appropriations Committee.
The senators, led by Patrick Leahy of Vermont and Dick Durbin of Illinois, said they "strongly object" to both the funding transfer itself, and the way it seeks to circumvent the authority of Congress.
"As a result, we have serious concerns that the Department has allowed political interference and pet projects to come ahead of many near-term, critical readiness issues facing our military," the senators wrote.
The letter notes that there are already $5 billion worth of shortfalls in funds for existing military issues that were ignored in favor of Trump's wall money.
The Air Force has made Congress aware of a $632 million shortfall in money needed for satellites to detect the launch of nuclear weapons from hostile countries. Without that money, the senators warn, the program could be delayed by years "at a time when our adversaries are increasing their capabilities to strike the U.S. homeland."
The Air Force and Marine Corps also have $1.5 billion of proposals in the pipeline for cleanup and reconstruction of Tyndall Air Force Base and Camp Lejeune. The Navy may need as much as $1 billion for ship maintenance.
The National Guard also has a "shortfall in pay," the senators note, and if that money isn't covered, it could "jeopardize National Guard drills across the country beginning this summer."
Military leaders have previously said that Trump's obsession with his wall is hurting the troops.
Internal memos from Marine Corps commandant Gen. Robert Neller noted that Trump's fake border crisis and national emergency declaration created an "unacceptable risk to Marine Corps combat readiness and solvency."
Instead of Marines participating in training exercises, funding was siphoned off to Trump's wasteful wall.
The further "theft" of funds, as the senators put it, continues Trump's strategy of hurting the troops for a wall the country doesn't need and has repeatedly said it doesn't want.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.