Tester Calls on Military Leaders to Push Back on President’s Border Wall Request that Could Deny Money from Montana Installations

Senator doubles down on fight to defend Montana investments after Air Force unable to protect construction project at Malmstrom

(U.S. Senate)-U.S. Senator Jon Tester called on military leaders to push back on President Trump’s proposal that could deny money for Malmstrom Air Force Base and the Montana Air National Guard to pay for a wall on the southern border that both parties rejected.

Tester questioned Air Force Brigadier General John Allen during a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing on military construction this week to reassure the airmen at Malmstrom that the funding for the base’s new Weapons Storage Facility won’t be delayed or scrapped to pay for wall construction on the southern border. Allen could not guarantee that the funding for the Weapons Storage Facility would remain in the budget.

“This is a project that I have been advocating for and a project that the base needs,” Tester told Allen. “Can you assure me that these dollars will stay in the budget even if the President asks for them?”

“I can’t give an assurance of what will happen,” Allen replied.

Tester is taking issue with the White House’s proposal to take $3.6 billion from military construction accounts to pay for a border wall. The $3.6 billion could force existing projects to be delayed-including the Weapons Storage Facility at Malmstrom.

“I have been down to the southern border and I have been to Malmstrom Air Force Base,” Tester added. “What is more important that weapons storage? Do what you can do to push back and ensure these projects can move forward.”

The Pentagon released a document of U.S. military construction projects that the White House could redirect funds from to build a border wall. The Missile Maintenance Facility at Malmstrom Air Force Base and the Montana Air National Guard’s C-130 Aircraft Apron are both on the list.

Tester has used his position on the Senate Appropriations Committee to secure funding for both the Missile Maintenance Dispatch Facility and the C-130 Apron.

Tester slammed President Trump’s emergency declaration proposal last month and is the only member of the Montana Congressional delegation to oppose the President’s emergency declaration, which will siphon billions of dollars from the Military Construction budget in order to pay for a border wall.