Trump taking US$3.8 billion from military to fund border wall

Cheryl Sanders
February 14, 2020

The Pentagon will once again shift billions of dollars in its accounts in order to fund hundreds of miles of new border wall at the request of the Department of Homeland Security, a move that mirrors actions taken a year ago to help the Trump administration build sections of the wall along the U.S. -Mexico border.

Trump promised to build the wall along most of the 2,000-mile (3,200-kilometer) US-Mexico border-paid for by Mexico-during his 2016 presidential campaign.

The move comes as President Donald Trump extended the national emergency declaration on the US-Mexico border for another year, according to a notice submitted to the Federal Register (pdf) on Thursday.

'Today (Trump) stole from our National Guard to pay for his wasteful wall, ' said Sen. And it got bipartisan condemnation, including from the Democratic and Republican leaders of the House Armed Services Committee. "But their policy simply does not match their rhetoric", House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith, D-Wash., said in a statement.

Rep. Mac Thornberry, a Texas Republican who is the ranking member of the House committee, did not mention Trump by name but voiced strong opposition to the diverting of money from various Pentagon accounts for border wall construction, asserting the move is "contrary to Congress's constitutional authority".

In its report on the news, The Hill noted that the money is being repurposed as part of the Pentagon's counter-drug fund.

All together, Trump has obtained just over $3 billion for border barrier construction by working through regular congressional channels, subject to limitations imposed by lawmakers.

"In response, the Secretary of Defense authorized support of $3.8B to build approximately 177 miles of fencing that will help to protect our borders", Mitchell explained.

Salesses added, "The DHS request specifically identified the need for fences, roads and lighting" along key lanes along the border used by Mexican drug cartels to smuggle drugs across the border.

On Thursday, Pentagon officials announced about $2.2 billion in Defense Department funding would be redirected from counter-narcotics efforts to the construction of border wall.

Lt. Col. Chris Mitchell, a Pentagon spokesman, said Defense Secretary Mark Esper approved the transfer after receiving the request from the Department of Homeland Security last month.

No funding for domestic military housing projects was diverted to the wall, instead the Pentagon delayed more than a hundred overseas construction projects and shifted money from projects that had not yet been contracted out for future construction.

Democrats slammed the moves as well, but Trump faced no consequences when making $2.5 billion in similar transfers a year ago.

"Congress has the constitutional responsibility to determine how defense dollars are spent". Another $1.5 billion would be taken from accounts used to provide equipment for the National Guard and Reserve.

Numerous programs are favored by lawmakers for the jobs they bring to their districts and states.

He's also eliminating funding for an amphibious assault ship built in MS and an Expeditionary Fast Transport ship that's built in Alabama, represented by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), the Senate Appropriations Committee vice chairman, said.

In the case of the F-35, for instance, the Pentagon said "current funding is more than sufficient to keep the current production line open and meet requirements". The same thing happened a year ago when the administration moved $6.1 billion from the Pentagon's budget for the border project.

Other reports by iNewsToday