Reps: Trump’s ‘fake’ Emergency Imperils Hanscom
LOWELL -- Democratic Massachusetts House Armed Services Committee members Lori Trahan, Seth Moulton and Bill Keating charged Thursday that President Donald Trump’s emergency declaration to fund the border wall jeopardizes projects at the Hanscom Air Force Base and Westover Air Reserve Base.
Trump’s declaration would allow him to use military construction funds to build the wall. According to a press release from Trahan’s office, the decision directly jeopardizes $90 million and $42.6 million intended for projects at Hanscom Air Force Base and Westover Air Reserve Base respectively.
Hanscom Air Force Base touches multiple communities including Bedford, Lexington, Concord and Lincoln, according to the base’s website. Westover Air Reserve Base is located in Chicopee.
“No president, Donald Trump included, has the right to undermine the authority of Congress by declaring a fake national emergency just because they didn’t get their way. I will be joining my colleagues in Congress to do our constitutional duty to protect our system of checks and balances and takes strong action against the president’s emergency declaration which has now become a clear threat to our actual security and military readiness,” said Trahan, of Westford, who represents the 3rd District.
The $90 million intended for the Hanscom base was designated to build a Compound Semiconductor Laboratory-Microelectronics Integration Facility.
The project will consolidate and modernize the base’s existing MIT Lincoln Laboratory and will be “fitted for developing advanced technologies that are applied to problems of national security,” according to a press release on the project from Hanscom Air Force Base.
According to Hanscom spokesperson Ben Newell, the project is in the design phase, the first of three phases. Newell said he could not comment on whether Trump’s declaration would impact the project.
In an email, a spokesperson from the U.S. Office of the Secretary of Defense said, “at this time, no decisions have been made regarding specific projects funded by” MILCON, or Military Construction, funding.
Moulton, who represents the 6th District, said the proposed projects at the base are a good investments.
“The proposed lab at Hanscom Air Force Base is exactly the type of investment the government should be making to keep our country safe,” he said. “The president’s decision to raid these funds from Hanscom -- to pay for a 5th Century immigration problem -- isn’t just a waste of money, it is a conscious decision to play politics with our national defense and economic competitiveness.”
Trahan said diverting funds to a wall “doesn’t make us any safer.”
“Congress is there for a reason, and it does have the power of the purse, and to just work around that by using a national emergency to get what you want, I think is a horrible precedent and something we have to do everything we can to stop,” she said.
She pointed to the resolution against Trump getting filed in Congress and states filing lawsuits against this national emergency.
“We’re going to explore all those options in court and legislation,” she said.
In the release, Keating called Trump’s decision a “reckless politicization of our military.”
“Using military construction funds endangers military readiness and decreases the well-being of our service men and women. Additionally, Massachusetts has a number of critical infrastructure projects carried our by US Army Corps of Engineers that could be threatened by this declaration, including maritime and public safety projects,” said Keating, who represents the 9th District.
Reporters Elizabeth Dobbins and Rick Sobey contributed to this report.