In a joint statement released Wednesday, the two senators pushed back against the president’s proposal, with Romney saying that he and Lee had raised “significant concerns” to Defense Secretary Mark Esper about the plan.
“In April, Senator Lee and I expressed our significant concerns to the Secretary of Defense regarding the potential diversion of funds for critical military construction projects in Utah,” wrote the former presidential candidate.
Romney went on to say that he was “disappointed” that two military projects in Utah totaling $54 million would be “delayed” because of Trump’s emergency declaration in February of this year and called on the executive branch to “use the appropriate channels in Congress” to secure border wall funding.
“Funding the border wall is an important priority, and the Executive Branch should use the appropriate channels in Congress, rather than divert already appropriated funding away from military construction projects and therefore undermining military readiness. Congress will have an opportunity to restore this funding in the next budget cycle, and I plan to work with the delegation to fight for funding for these projects, which are essential to Utah’s service members and our national security strategy.”
Lee called for Congress to rein in the power of the presidency to “restore the proper balance of power” among the branches of the federal government, such as through his bill the “ARTICLE ONE Act.”
“Congress has been ceding far too much powers to the executive branch for decades and it is far past time for Congress to restore the proper balance of power between the three branches,” he said. “We should start that process by passing the ARTICLE ONE Act, which would correct the imbalances caused by the National Emergencies Act.”
The statement came after the Pentagon announced on Tuesday that the Department of Defense would be moving $3.6 billion from over 120 military projects to fund the construction of the border wall.