During the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee’s hearing on the President’s Fiscal Year 2021 budget for National Guard and Reserve Components, Sen. Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) inquired about a funds transfer.
Durbin, vice chairman of the Senate Appropriations Defense Subcommittee, sought responses from Chiefs of the National Guard and the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Forces Reserve about the Trump administration’s transfer of $1.3 billion from the National Guard and Reserve Equipment Account (NGREA) to be used to build part of the southwest border wall.
Durbin maintains the funding diversion was part of the recent $3.8 billion that was taken from the Defense Department over congressional objections.
“I hope that my friends on the other side of the aisle will stand up for the Guard and Reserve and for the money that we have already appropriated for our national defense, which the President wants to put in a wall account that is unspent,” Durbin said.
Durbin asked the witnesses to explain the result if the funds were not restored, to which they responded the funds would have been used to purchase equipment such as interoperable radios; body armor for Marine Corps reservists; upgraded aircraft equipment; and helicopter hoists to assist the National Guard in rescuing Americans from natural disasters.
Durbin introduced the Restoring Military Priorities Act of 2020 last week. The measure seeks to reverse and restore funding transfers while also reducing DoD’s transfer authority.