Remember how we're still under an emergency declaration by Donald Trump, the one that he's using to fund his border wall because he lost the government shutdown earlier this year? Yes, it's still in effect and the great patriot protecting our national security is using it to—get this—divert funds from military pensions.
He's taking $6.1 billion out of Defense Department funds altogether, including $224 million from the Blended Retirement System, a new pension program that combines existing pensions and (401)k programs. Signing up for that has been optional for current military members but has been standard for all new recruits since last year. The Pentagon says that none of the billions in funding stolen for the wall "will result in any shortfall in readiness or cuts to military benefits." But that $224 million being taken from the pension program is a cut to benefits, no two ways around that.
It will also take $3.6 billion in military construction money and $2.5 billion in defense counterdrug funding, which is ridiculous. I mean, the wall is ostensibly being built to keep drugs from crossing the border so of course it makes total sense to take $2.5 billion away from drug interdiction overseas. The Pentagon hasn't yet said which construction projects will be ended to make up the $3.6 billion. But from a list compiled earlier this year of possible projected that can get the axe, there were 10 projects in Puerto Rico, totaling $402.6 million. That money was intended for a National Guard Readiness Center to help the island in future disasters and for ongoing rebuilding at Camp Santiago, which was heavily damaged by Hurricane Maria in 2017.
When Congress comes back next month, House Speaker Pelosi has to call rescission votes on this national emergency declaration every goddamned week until it's overturned. She can do it for the career military folks who shouldn't be having to sacrifice their pensions for Trump's racist agenda.