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U.S. Rep. Kilmer decries decision to divert Coast Guard construction funds for border wall

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Adrian Florez

Plans to build a new pier for Coast Guard vessels at the Navy base in Bangor will be put on hold. The Kitsap Sun reports that nearly $89 million to build the pier and maintenance facility has been diverted to pay for President Trump’s wall along the southern border.

The Coast Guard has a presence at the base to protect the eight Trident ballistic missile submarines that are homeported in Bangor, as they travel through Puget Sound on the way to the open ocean.

Members of Washington’s Congressional delegation decried the move, including U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer, D-Gig Harbor.

“This is about what … our men and women in uniform need and deserve,” he said. “Without this project we degrade our ability to protect the ballistic missile submarines when they transit in and out of our bases. These are submarines that carry nuclear weapons.”

But Kilmer says he’s also worried about the precedent this sets, with the White House moving funds that have been designated by Congress under its Constitutional authority.

The Pentagon says the projects — in Bangor and around the world — are being deferred, not canceled. Kilmer says he’s not optimistic that Congress will backfill the money later to get the projects done.

Listen to the full conversation above.

Ed Ronco is a former KNKX producer and reporter and hosted All Things Considered for seven years.