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VIDEO: Pingree Asks Defense Official If Politics Will Decide What Projects Get Robbed to Pay for Border Wall

Four modernization projects at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard are possible targets

Washington, February 28, 2019
During a hearing of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs yesterday, Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-ME) questioned a top Department of Defense official about diverting military construction funds to pay for President Trump’s border wall with Mexico.

Washington, D.C.—During a hearing of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs yesterday, Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-ME) questioned a top Department of Defense official about diverting military construction funds to pay for President Trump’s border wall with Mexico. The day before, Pingree had voted in support of a resolution to stop the President’s unconstitutional emergency order.
 
In particular, Pingree asked about the long-term costs and impacts to military readiness of deferring important maintenance projects—which could possibly include four at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard—as well as the role of politics in choosing the projects from which to take funding. 
 
“How are you accounting for the incremental costs, including operational readiness, of deferred construction? For example, there are four approved projects, but not yet awarded, at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard—one of this is a critical component of the dry dock modernization plan,” Pingree asked Department of Defense Assistant Secretary for Sustainment Robert H. McMahon. “How will you use your office to ensure that the selection of projects is not influenced by politics, such as choosing projects in the districts of members who voted yesterday on the resolution to terminate the emergency declaration? We would hate to see politics intervene here in our military readiness and our ability to retrofit submarines (at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard).”
 
After Assistant Secretary McMahon gave Pingree assurances that, limited to his jurisdiction within the Defense Department, politics would not play a role in the selection of projects, she responded, “I really do appreciate your very thoughtful answer about making sure that politics stays out of this. I’m sorry that many of us are more concerned about the Commander in Chief’s inability to leave politics out of this.”
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