Kendra Horn On Potential Okla. Cuts To Fund Border Wall
OKLAHOMA CITY - In the wake of a Department of Defense letter to Congress outlining $13 billion in military construction projects which could be delayed or cut to fund President Donald Trump’s border wall, House Armed Services Committee member Rep. Kendra Horn (D-OK5) spoke with News9/Newson6’s Alex Cameron about the potential cuts and Trump’s emergency declaration for the US-Mexico border.
Alex Cameron: What is your position on the President’s plan to take money away from military construction projects that have already been approved to fund this border wall?
Rep. Horn: I’ve said since the very beginning since this declaration was announced that it is unconstitutional, and an end run around Congress. We are a large bi-partisan majority and both houses approved funding for all of these projects, including the projects that are now being proposed to be cut. It’s not only constitutional it’s a threat to our national security when we take money from these projects. A lot of these, especially in places like [Tinker Air Force Base], a lot of these projects go directly towards our readiness, the readiness of our armed forces, our ability to meet threats where they are. So, this unconstitutional declaration is a problem for a lot of reasons and this just adds to it.
AC: The President vetoed the resolution that was passed by both the House and Senate –
AC: -- to rescind his declaration, when will that come back to the House and do you think there’s any chance you can override a veto?
Horn: It will come back, I believe next week. We are in a district work period so I’m here in Oklahoma this week. We are here in a district work period, so I think it’ll come up next week. I think it’s worth noting there were 12 [Republican senators] who voted with the resolution to roll back the declaration for a lot of the same reasons that I did, and a lot of others did as well.
AC: It’s being reported there’s probably not much chance of overriding the veto, even if there’s bipartisan support for your resolution, so in other words --
Horn: yeah, I —
AC: -- go ahead.
Horn: Oh, sorry. I was going to say, I think the likelihood of overriding a veto is not very high because it’s a pretty high bar to meet but I still think it’s a pretty substantial message that the Senate sent last week with such a bipartisan and strong message that this declaration is not only unconstitutional, it’s a threat to national security.
AC: Getting back to the list of thee projects, they lay out some criteria. Under those, it looks like a lot of those under Oklahoma might be spared. Does that give you some piece of mind or does it still concern you that all these projects are potentially on the chopping block?
Horn: No, it doesn’t give me piece of mind at all. As a member of the Armed Services Committee in the House and from my seat on the Readiness Sub-committee and Vice Chair of Strategic Forces, I see firsthand the needs of our military and they’re great. Readiness and taking care of our soldiers, sailors, airmen, everybody that’s serving in uniform and those people who support them is critical and the projects that have been targeted for cuts directly impact that readiness.
We have a major issue across this country right now with housing for our active duty members and their families where there have been hearings on both the House and Senate side. we will continue to have more hearings about the very health and safety of the people who serve and their families who serve alongside them by supporting them. This unconstitutional declaration does nothing but make us less safe. In hearing I think just last week General Dunford was asked if this was an emergency and his response was ‘what’s happening at the border is a security challenge. It’s not an emergency.’ and we have to take care of our armed forces. That’s my, one of my reasons I’m incredibly concerned about this.
AC: -- And didn’t the active Secretary of Defense in front of the armed services committee essentially say the same thing?
Horn: Yes, he did.
AC: So, where do you think this is going to end up?
Horn: I don’t know. What I do know is I’m going to continue to speak up for us following the rule of law and Article 1 of the Constitution; give Congress the power of the purse, which we followed. We on a strong bipartisan vote in both houses, approved these appropriations projects. These approved appropriations for our armed forces and the other projects were done, were approved for a reason. We appropriated these funds for a reason and I don’t think we’re going to be able to, maybe we will I don’t know, override the veto, but I think we need to continue to speak up and fight for the rule of law and for supporting our armed forces.