AP NEWS

Patrick Shanahan missed deadline on list of cuts to fund border wall

March 15, 2019

Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan missed a Thursday deadline to turn over a list of military construction projects that could be delayed in order to build President Trump’s border wall.

Mr. Shanahan, in a hearing earlier in the day, had promised Sen. Jack Reed he would produce the list “by the end of today.”

At about 11:30 p.m. Mr. Reed announced that Mr. Shanahan said he would no longer meet the deadline.

“Tonight, the Acting Secretary of Defense informed me he is unable to keep his commitment to share the list of what will be cut to pay for the vanity wall,” Mr. Reed said. “This unacceptable series of evasions should trouble members of Congress, regardless of political party.”

No explanation was given, but the mere possibility of such a list is politically charged.

Democrats have sought the document for weeks, hoping to use it to box Republicans into a corner over Mr. Trump’s wall by pointing to projects in their home states that could be delayed in order to use the money for the border.

One senator said he’d asked each of the service chiefs for their lists, and was told that only Mr. Shanahan could release it.

Under intense questioning in the Armed Services Committee Friday morning Mr. Shanahan and the Pentagon’s comptroller said they don’t plan to cancel any projects, but there are some that were budgeted for this year that will instead be delayed if the money is needed for the border wall.

Mr. Shanahan said he doesn’t have a final list of what will be affected, but after prodding he told Mr. Reed he could get a list of the universe of projects that could be targeted.

Some GOP senators said Mr. Shanahan had promised them nothing in their home states would be at risk.

Democrats wondered how he was able to make such promises if he didn’t know the list.

Senators voted Thursday afternoon to approve a resolution overturning Mr. Trump’s wall-building emergency declaration. But the 59-41 vote was shy of the two-thirds needed to overcome a presidential veto, thanks to the support of some of those senators to whom Mr. Shanahan made promises.