Casey: Border wall plan could put aircraft, submarine project money at risk

Federal money for submarine manufacturing in Philadelphia, aircraft construction in Pittsburgh and other military construction projects in Pennsylvania could be at risk of being diverted by the Trump administration to help finance a U.S.-Mexico border wall, U.S. Sen. Bob Casey's office said Thursday.

Casey's office said there is nearly $200 million in congressionally approved money for military construction projects in Pennsylvania. That includes about $71 million to expand a submarine propeller manufacturing facility in the Philadelphia Navy Yard and at least $85 million to improve facilities at Pittsburgh's Air Force Reserve station to accommodate the larger C-17 Globemaster III.

Another $8 million is set aside to replace aging facilities at Fort Indiantown Gap, the National Guard training center near Harrisburg.

In a statement, Casey's office said it has received no information from the Trump administration on what money is at risk.

"I will fight like hell to keep this funding and these projects up and running in Pennsylvania," Casey, a Democrat, said in a statement.

The office of U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, a Republican, said separately that it did not know which projects could be at risk of seeing money diverted.

Last week, President Donald Trump declared a national emergency at the U.S.-Mexico border, moving to secure more money for his long-promised wall after Congress approved only a fraction of the money he had demanded.

The White House has said the border project would receive $3.6 billion that Congress originally provided for military construction projects. The Department of Defense said Thursday that no decisions have been made on which projects would lose money.

Casey opposes Trump's declaration as an abuse of power. He also opposed Trump's efforts to get more money from Congress for the border wall, saying no security expert thinks building a wall as Trump envisions it is an effective border strategy.

Toomey has said he preferred that Trump work with Congress on border security, rather than taking unilateral action. Toomey had contended that Trump's proposals for more money from Congress were reasonable, but Toomey had more broadly defined the money as being for border security, such as technology and roads, and not just a wall.

In the meantime, a number of efforts are underway to stop the diversion.

California is leading a group of 16 states in a lawsuit filed Monday contending that Trump's declaration is unconstitutional, while House Democrats planned to file a resolution Friday aimed at blocking the national emergency declaration.

Pennsylvania's attorney general, Josh Shapiro, said earlier this week that he would take legal action if Pennsylvania loses federal funds because of Trump's emergency declaration.

The federal government had not provided guidance on the funding sources, Shapiro, a Democrat, said.