In February, President Trump declared a national emergency at U.S. border with Mexico. In doing so, he essentially opened the door to re-route money from other federal projects to build a wall.
Most of that money would be re-directed from the military to pay for a border wall, but it is not exactly clear what specific military projects would be impacted. For example, could Fairchild Air Force Base be affected?
The process is in its early stages. Right now, it appears unlikely Fairchild will be affected. However, there is still a lot of ambiguity.
It all started with the longest government shutdown in U.S. history, which began over a fight for border wall funding. After more than a month, the president agreed to re-open the federal government.
But his next course of action was declaring a national emergency. That may allow him to go around Congress, taking funds already appropriated to various federal agencies.
Congress requested that the Department of Defense provide a list of all the projects that could be affected. After several delays, the Pentagon eventually provided this list.
At a recent hearing about that list, Assistant Secretary of Defense Robert McMahon testified that the projects would be deferred rather than canceled.
That would still require new funding to be allocated in the future.
The list details every military project that hadn't been awarded funding by the end of 2018 and Fairchild is on that list, with specific mention of $14 million for a mission support facility for the Personnel Recovery Academy.
But the same document states, "The pool of potential military construction projects from which funding could be reallocated to support the construction of border barrier are solely projects with award dates after September 30, 2019."
It also shows the Fairchild project has a slated award date of September 2019. Therefore, it should not be affected.
The document also states that no real decisions have been made yet.
Fairchild provided this statement to KREM: "We can confirm the list merely highlights projects that haven't been awarded as of Dec. 31, 2018, and does not foreshadow a loss of funding. Projects scheduled to be awarded prior to Sept. 30, 2019, are exempted, as are those related to military dormitories or barracks."
That also seems to indicate Fairchild won't be affected. But when KREM asked outright if the project would be safe, the base's public affairs office couldn't answer.
We also reached out to the Department of Defense and have not received a response.
Governor Inslee and State Attorney General Bob Ferguson have both said that if any decisions are made to redirect money intended for Washington military projects to the border wall, they will file a lawsuit.
KREM asked both offices if they had any clarity on why Fairchild might be included on the list if it ostensibly won't be actually affected.
Both offices said that's not entirely clear to them either, saying the DOD has not been providing many concrete answers.
Will Fairchild be affected by the border wall declaration? Probably not. However, there still remains a great deal of ambiguity and decisions to be made, and we cannot definitively confirm the funds for the base's project in question is safe.