Saturday, February 16, 2019


This seems like a smart move:
Heading into the week-long President’s Day recess, the office of Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is distributing a spreadsheet to members logging a host of wide-ranging local projects potentially threatened by Trump’s effort to shift funds from military construction coffers to the border wall.

The list — nearly 400-projects long — features a number of ventures in GOP districts. It includes maintenance facilities for F-35 stealth fighters at Eielson Air Force Base outside Fairbanks, Alaska; the operation of a middle school at Fort Campbell, Kentucky; and funds to replace a training maze at Fort Bragg, N.C.

“We have to smoke out as many Republicans as possible by making the case that projects in their backyard are in jeopardy and will likely be raided to help pay for Trump’s ineffective and politically motivated wall,” said a senior Democratic aide.
Also, as Jen Hayden of Daily Kos noted yesterday, some of the money that would be diverted to wall construction could be coming from funds intended to build or upgrade housing for servicemembers and their families, some of which is in abysmal condition:
Where is Trump going to draw $8 billion from? $3.6 billion of it will come from funds that were intended for military construction projects—new and improved housing for military families, many of whom live in squalid conditions, including housing full of mice and mold. Only days ago, lawmakers held a hearing to discuss the conditions of housing for military families, and what the families described was the stuff of nightmares. From the Washington Post:
Crystal Cornwall, a Marine Corps spouse, told lawmakers about termites falling though light fixtures at an air base in Mississippi and mice chewing through infant pacifiers at Camp Lejeune, N.C.
And that is nothing compared to what Heather Beckstrom’s family has endured.
At Fort Bragg in North Carolina, Heather Beckstrom believes her daughter’s epilepsy, her son’s cancer diagnosis and her other son’s cleft palate are linked to the untreated sewer water from a chronically overflowing toilet that sent several inches of water gushing onto the floor. It occurred so frequently and forcefully, she said, that a water line was visible on the stucco from the outside.
Foreign Policy called the decision to divert these funds a “slap in the face to military families.”
“Having the president declare a national emergency in order to use [military construction] funding just days after a horrible SASC hearing on the terrible state of privatized military housing is a slap in the face to military families,” said Loren DeJonge Schulman of the Center for a New American Security. “The trade-off may not be direct—it’s not clear what the funding might have otherwise done—but it’s an ugly symbol of priorities.”
But will voters in Trump Country care? We know how few are abandoning Trump even after being punished by his trade policies. His support among Republicans is 87% in the latest Fox News poll. It's 85% in the latest Politico/Morning Consult poll.

Pelosi wants to put Republicans in Congress on the spot, but I think the vast majority in the House, and all but one or two in the Senate, will be resistant. They'll correctly calculate that GOP voters won't be upset about the diversion of funds even if it affects them personally. Trumpism is a Higher Cause. I'm sure most of Trump's base will remain loyal.

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