Durbin: President Trump's Demand For Troops At The Southwest Border Is Hurting Military Readiness

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Vice Chairman of the Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, today questioned General Joseph L. Lengyel, Chief of The National Guard Bureau, on how the National Guard’s deployment to the Southwest border is impacting military readiness.  In today’s hearing, Durbin noted that the National Guard’s current deployment to the Southwest border is estimated to cost $247 million and that President Trump’s Fiscal Year 2020 budget includes no funding for the Guard’s current mission on the Southwest border.  Therefore, the National Guard is risking big cuts to readiness – such as weekend drill exercises – in order to pay for the President’s demand for troops at the Southwest border.

“So we are going to play this out again next year.  We will find out exactly when the President decides to declare the next invasion.  Send down good men and women who leave their jobs and their families to supplement what the border agents are doing.  Create a hole in the budget that the President is not even preparing for or not even anticipating.  And run the risk that we will cancel drill weekends across the board for our Guard and compromise their readiness.  Is this any way to run a national defense?” Durbin asked General Lengyel.

General Lengyel stated that if the National Guard continues to be deployed on the Southwest border beyond the current fiscal year, they will have to “make accommodations” to find the funding.

Video of Durbin’s remarks in Committee is available here.

Audio of Durbin’s remarks in Committee is available here.

Footage of Durbin’s remarks in Committee is available here for TV Stations.