President Trump’s border wall is being built at the expense of Mobile’s largest industrial employer.
The Pentagon announced Thursday that it is transferring $3.8 billion in recently passed military funding to finance construction of the U.S.-Mexico border wall. That includes $261 million that was earmarked for the 15th Expeditionary Fast Transport (EPF) ship to be built by Austal USA. The Mobile shipyard has delivered 11 EPFs to the military since 2012.
“We’ll continue to focus on what we can control, delivering great ships to our great Navy, on cost and on schedule,” said Craig Perciavalle, Austal USA President. “With 11 more surface yet to deliver, including two EPF’s… we have a strong backlog and a lot to do over the next few years.”
Alabama Republican Senator Richard Shelby defended the move.
“While I am disappointed that the Department of Defense intends to target important priorities such as the Expeditionary Fast Transport, the Democrats left the President little choice in finding the funds necessary to build the wall,” Shelby said.
Republicans controlled both houses of Congress for two years (2017-19) but failed to fund the border wall. A Gallup Poll taken nine days ago indicates 60-percent of Americans oppose the wall.
Thursday’s move by the Pentagon also transferred money from National Guard units, aircraft procurement, and drug-fighting initiatives.
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