Sen. Baldwin blasts plan to divert millions for Oshkosh Defense to border wall

OSHKOSH, Wis. (WBAY) - Updated with a statement from Oshkosh Defense president John Bryant

Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisconsin) is objecting to a U.S. Department of Defense plan to divert millions of dollars appropriated for Oshkosh Corporation to fund President Donald Trump's border wall.

"The President’s unilateral action takes $101 million that was appropriated by Congress for Oshkosh Defense to build Heavy wheeled defense vehicles for the Army," says Baldwin in a statement.

Baldwin is a member of the Senate Appropriations Defense Subcommittee and helped secure the funding for Oshkosh's military truck program.

In its "reprogramming" document, the DOD states it plans to divert from the heavy truck program because "The procurement of legacy vehicles is inconsistent with the goals to modernize the Tactical and Support Vehicle fleet in support of the National Defense Strategy."

In all, the DOD plans to transfer $3.8 billion from other areas to fund the southwest border wall.

“President Trump promised the people of Wisconsin that Mexico would pay for his border wall and now he is making American taxpayers fund it,” Sen. Baldwin said. “Wisconsin manufacturers strengthen our national defense and create jobs, but Trump is taking funding away from our economy and the workers that build it.”

Baldwin says the DOD also diverted $650 million for a new Navy ship. Fairbanks Morse in Beloit was set to provide engines for the ship.

Baldwin and other Democrats on the committee sent a letter to Defense Secretary Mark Esper in objection to the diversion and going around Congress to do so.

CLICK HERE to view the letter.

Oshkosh Defense president John Bryan provided a statement to Action 2 News saying he can't comment on the planned diversion of funds:

"While we can’t comment on the U.S. Government’s plans, what we can tell you is that our 3,100 team members and 750 direct suppliers are working hard each day to support our U.S. military customer. Of those 750 suppliers, over 160 are located right here in Wisconsin, in addition to many indirect suppliers that provide critical support to our manufacturing facilities. At Oshkosh Defense, we execute our tactical wheeled vehicle (TWV) programs on time and on budget. We are committed to our mission to build the world’s best TWVs that protect our brave men and women in uniform, so that they may complete their missions and return home safely."