Democratic lawmakers from New York are pushing for bill language to stop the Trump administration from moving military construction funds to extend the Mexican border wall, as it just did with $160 million that was supposed to pay for a new engineering building and parking garage at West Point.
In a joint letter, Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand and Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney urged Senate and House committee leaders from both parties to keep two clauses to protect previously approved projects in a major defense bill for the fiscal year that begins on Oct. 1. The Democratic-controlled House had included that language in its National Defense Authorization Act in July; it was not in the bill version the Republican-led Senate passed two weeks earlier. Conferees from both chambers must now negotiate the final bill.
The Trump administration announced this month it was shifting $3.6 billion that Congress had allocated for 127 military construction projects to fund the border wall, including a $95 million engineering center and $65 million garage that were scheduled to be built next year at the U.S. Military Academy. President Trump had declared an emergency earlier in the year to allow the fund transfer, which prompted House Democrats to try to preserve funding for all military projects authorized since 2015 through the defense bill.
“The targeted military construction projects, including the Engineering Center at West Point, have undergone a thorough review process by the military and by Congress and were determined necessary for military operations, unlike the border wall,” Schumer, Gillibrand and Maloney wrote in their joint letter on Monday in support of the House language.
According to a fundraising brochure, the Cyber & Engineering Academic Center at West Point would be 130,000 square feet and would allow the academy to deliver interdisciplinary courses in science, technology, engineering and mathematics that aren’t feasible in the 50-year-old classroom spaces used today.
“It is critical that West Point has modern facilities to deliver engineering and cyber education programs that anticipate Army needs and prepare our leaders for that future environment,” read the brochure from the West Point Association of Graduates. “Our facilities are not keeping pace with these changes and we are currently well behind our peers.”
It was unclear if funding for the engineering center could be restored if Congress approved the bill language that the two senators and Maloney supported (and if Trump signed a bill with those clauses, which seemed dubious).
Farley campaign holds Tuxedo Park fundraiser
Republican congressional candidate Chele Chiavacci Farley held a campaign fundraiser on Saturday in Tuxedo Park, the village in which she and her family have settled as she prepares to challenge Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney for New York’s 18th Congressional District seat next year.
An invitation distributed by Tuxedo Park Mayor David McFadden suggested guests and supporters contribute $250, $1,000 or $2,800 per person, which is the federal limit, or up to $11,200 per couple to hit the maximum for both a primary and a general election (Farley has no Republican primary rival at this stage). The fundraiser took place at the home of Barbara and Peter Regna.
“We need Chele in Congress to stand up to the Washington elite and vote for the things we support,” McFadden and his wife, Robin, say in the invitation email, which notes that the Farleys are their neighbors. “Furthermore, we need Congress to work together to get things done — Chele will make that a priority.”
Farley and her husband, Richard, rented a house in Tuxedo Park earlier this year, shortly before she announced her 2020 run for the 18th District seat. The private-equity executive had lived in Manhattan for 26 years before then. She challenged Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand for her seat last year, an uphill battle that Gillibrand won by 34 percentage points.
McFadden waged his own bid for Congress in 2010, competing with three other Republicans and stepping aside without a primary after committee members endorsed Nan Hayworth, a Westchester County eye doctor. Hayworth went on to unseat Democrat John Hall that November, only to lose her seat two years later to Maloney, who is now in his fourth term.