Pentagon shifts another $3.8 billion to building Trump's Mexico border wall

Border Wall Building

The additional funding is on top of the more than $11 billion that has already been allocated to build about 500 miles of border wall, bringing the total level of border wall funding to about $14.8 billion.

Some details: The money will be moved from procurement accounts to the drug interdiction accounts the Pentagon tapped previous year for border projects.

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

The White House's 2021 budget request released on Monday included $2 billion in border wall funding.

In its report on the news, The Hill noted that the money is being repurposed as part of the Pentagon's counter-drug fund. The president argued that he had authority to use military funds because of what he deemed a national security emergency along the border, a claim that federal courts are still reviewing.

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.

On the Republican side, the ranking member on the House Armed Services Committee, Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), also expressed concern over the move and called on Congress to "take action".

Amazon is in the middle of a lawsuit against the Defense Department, accusing President Trump of "repeated public and behind-the-scenes attacks to steer" the Pentagon's Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure contract toward Microsoft in order to "harm his perceived political enemy", Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.

"Today's reprogramming request confirms once again that the President is obsessed with fulfilling a campaign promise at the expense of our national security", Rep. Adam Smith of Washington, the panel's Democratic chairman, said in a statement.


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.

Specifically, the plan targets money for two F-35 fighters sought by top House Appropriations Committee Republican Kay Granger and other members of the Texas delegation.

Asked if more defense funding cuts could be forthcoming later this year, Salesses said discussions are ongoing within the department but no decisions have been made.

The Pentagon request also strips $156 million in additional funds for the F-35, $180 million for an Air Force light attack aircraft, $650 million for amphibious assault ships and almost $300 million for Army vehicles.

In response to the news, several congressional members on Capitol Hill are decrying the move as unconstitutional and unsafe. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), the Senate Appropriations Committee vice chairman, said.

'This is a congressional special interest item, ' said the Pentagon documents.

"Congress has the constitutional responsibility to determine how defense dollars are spent", he said.

Trump's action comes less than two months after he signed a huge appropriations package into law.

Numerous programs are favored by lawmakers for the jobs they bring to their districts and states. That budget contains a $2 billion request for the wall, less than Trump asked for a year ago, which reflects the fact that Trump has more money for the wall than can be spent immediately.

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