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Our View: Trump's plan would redirect military funds needed in Alabama

Our View: Trump's plan would redirect military funds needed in Alabama

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President Trump’s recent call for a redirect of military funding to support his border wall campaign could have a direct impact on projects in Alabama if he gets his way.

There is no doubt that Congress and the president together must find better solutions to the nation’s immigration issues, including border policies.

There also is no doubt that neither is doing a very good job of it.

Nevertheless, going the route of reaching into military coffers can in itself create various types of serious consequences, ranging from an impact on the nation’s military preparedness and support in defense of our country, to economic ramifications such as what Alabama would face if Trump’s proposals are implemented.

Alabama is not without strong representation on Capitol Hill with its military interests, as Sen. Doug Jones (Democrat) and Rep. Mike Rogers (Republican) both serve on their respective Armed Services Committees.

Rogers previously has expressed support of the military and his hopes that Trump can find other ways to fund his border wall, although he has agreed the president is right in that problems there need definitive action.

Jones meanwhile, and naturally since he comes from the opposing party, has become a bit more vocal, issuing a press statement cautioning the administration against following through with its proposal to cut or delay funding for Alabama military projects to pay for a wall.

The Pentagon recently sent a 20-page list to Congress of military construction projects that are at risk of being cut or delayed in order to free up funding to pay for the wall.

Several Alabama priorities were on the list, including $5.2 million for Anniston Army Depot to build a weapons maintenance shop, $38 million for a training support facility at Fort Rucker and two Maxwell Air Force Base projects: a $15.5 million Judge Advocate General (JAG) school expansion and an $18 million air traffic control tower.

In a letter to Patrick Shanahan, acting secretary of the Department of Defense, Jones said that he will oppose any delay or cuts to Alabama military projects.

“I will be perfectly clear here: There are no circumstances under which it would be acceptable or appropriate,” Jones wrote. “These projects are critical to the national security and to the state of Alabama, and I will oppose every attempt to delay or otherwise negatively impact them in any way.”

Defense of our defense industry is good politics.

So is the banter on protecting our borders.

Somewhere along the line there must be compromise and action taken that will address these issues and not keep kicking the can down the road.

Diverting funds from military projects – especially when sooner or later the economy will take its natural course and experience a cyclical slowdown that could affect restoring the funding in the near future – is taking from one measure of defense to help another.

The economic ripple effect in Alabama, and similarly in other states, would be noticeable and perhaps more so later.

Don’t build one wall of defense by taking down another.


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