Pentagon to Divert Another $3.8 Billion to Pay for Trump’s Border Wall

Trump administration taking $3.8 billion more from military for Mexico border wall - International - World

The Department of Defense is rerouting $3.83 billion from its budget to fund President Trump's southern border wall, according to budget documents cited by the Washington Post.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper approved the $3.8 billion border wall request from the Department of Homeland Security, and the Pentagon acknowledged that more cuts could be coming to provide additional funding for Trump's signature campaign promise.

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.

This time, the Pentagon is targeting $1.3 billion for National Guard equipment and excess procurement of aircraft like the F-35 and V-22 Ospreys, favored by many lawmakers for the jobs they bring to their districts and states.

"This is a congressional special interest item", said the Pentagon documents, referring to the targets of numerous cuts.

The Pentagon suggested that the $3.6 billion in military construction funds it was diverting to border barriers previous year would be "backfilled" by Congress, potentially leading to no delays in the projects that were defunded. 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.

The request (pdf), divided into two parts, seeks $2.2 billion to be diverted from defense appropriations, and $1.63 billion from the Pentagon's Overseas Contingency Operations fund.

The move comes after Trump bypassed Congress past year to take $6.1 billion from the Pentagon budget for the border project.

"It's grossly irresponsible of President Trump to raid money that is necessary to support and defend our nation for his vanity wall", Rep. John Garamendi, D-Calif., the chairman of the committee's subpanel on readiness, said in a prepared statement Thursday.

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". Esper approved a portion of that. He acknowledged that it is possible more military construction projects could be canceled this year in order to free up funding for the wall.

While no decisions have been made about additional funds being used from other military construction projects, Salesses confirmed that there are ongoing discussions about the possibility.

Trump's action comes less than two months after he signed a huge appropriations package into law and just days after the administration unveiled its fiscal 2021 budget.

The money was to be culled from various programs for buying tactical vehicles for the Army National Guard, vessels for the Navy, and combat and transport aircraft for the Navy and Air Force. "President Trump has already raided over $6 billion in critical defense funds to pay for his wall - this new raid worsens the already unsafe problems he's created for our military and national security".

Numerous programs are favored by lawmakers for the jobs they bring to their districts and states. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), the Senate Appropriations Committee vice chairman, said. The same thing happened previous year when the administration moved $6.1 billion from the Pentagon's budget for the border project.



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