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Delegation Urges Trump To Spare Portsmouth Shipyard Projects From Border Wall Funding Pool

Federal lawmakers want Portsmouth Naval Shipyard spared from budget cuts tied to plans for a wall at the southern border.

President Trump hopes to use his recent emergency declaration to reallocate potentially billions of dollars from military projects and other funding areas.

In a recent fact sheet, the Department of Defense says it won't consider tapping into any projects slated for funding before September.

The upcoming projects listed the Seacoast shipyard, which employs thousands of people in Portsmouth and Kittery, Maine, are set to receive around $223 million total.

They all have projected award dates sooner than September – but a spokesman for Sen. Jeanne Shaheen says any projects the military has preliminarily identified could be in doubt. 

“Until these projects are removed from this list, we won’t have any certainty that they’ll keep the funding Congress provided,” says spokesman Ryan Nickel. “No assurances have been provided that the President won’t target these projects to build his wall.”

Credit Department of Defense
Selections from a DoD fact sheet on projects that could contribute funding for the border wall.

At an event in Durham Friday before a press conference at the shipyard with other members of the Congressional delegation, Shaheen said the state can’t risk the economic impacts of losing the shipyard funding.

"This is about our ability to stay ready with our submarine fleet, it's about jobs in the Seacoast, it's about all of those contractors and jobs that are going to be used to do these projects,” she said.

Trump is expected to veto bipartisan bids by the House and Senate – co-sponsored by Shaheen – to block his emergency declaration. It will likely set up a lengthy legal battle over the issue.

Shaheen says she and others are “counting on the courts” for a resolution.

Annie has covered the environment, energy, climate change and the Seacoast region for NHPR since 2017. She leads the newsroom's climate reporting project, By Degrees.
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