Visclosky Denies Request to Use Defense Funds for Unauthorized Border Wall

March 27, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON – House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Pete Visclosky (D-IN) today denied the Department of Defense’s request to use Defense funds for an unauthorized wall on the southern border of the United States.

The U.S. Constitution gives Congress the power to appropriate funds for designated and authorized purposes, and the reprogramming process has been historically utilized to allow Congress to maintain this Constitutional responsibility and oversight of Executive Branch requests to adjust funds to meet operational needs. 

However, the Department of Defense has indicated that – for the first time ever –  it intends to move forward with the reprogramming action despite the Appropriations Committee opposing the reprogramming.

“This unprecedented action will clearly be a consideration as the Committee disposes the entirety of the Department’s budget request, including its current transfer authority,” Visclosky said.

The full text of the letter to Under Secretary of Defense David L. Norquist is available below. A PDF is available here.

Dear Mr. Secretary:

The Committee has received and reviewed the requested reprogramming action, FY 19-01RA, submitted to the Committee on March 25, 2019, which proposes the transfer of $1 billion from fiscal year 2019 Military Personnel, Army and Army Reserve accounts to the Drug Interdiction and Counter Drug Activities account for the purposes of erecting a wall on the U.S. southern border. 

The Committee denies the request. 

The Defense Appropriations Act of 2019 was enacted on September 28, 2018, and inherent in the enactment is the specific allocation of appropriations and the execution of funds as called for under the Constitution between the Congress and the Executive Branch.  Article 1 states, “No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law”.  The reprogramming transmitted by the Department denies the Congress and the Committee on Appropriations those stated Constitutional prerogatives; these funds were neither requested nor appropriated for the activities described in the reprogramming.  With this unilateral action, the historic and unprecedented comity that has existed between the Committee and the Department has been breached.  



Peter J. Visclosky


Defense Subcommittee



116th Congress