Trump Plans To Move Billions More From Military To Build Wall
“I want to build the wall, I supported direct appropriations for it and fought for it — but we have to evaluate what this does to the military, what it affects, where and how.”
President Donald Trump has not quit on his mission to get a wall built on the Southern border with Mexico and he is planning to use whatever funds he can to do it.
The Trump administration is still waiting on a decision on a federal lawsuit that has blocked the use of military construction funds to build the wall. But even while waiting, the president is looking to move more than $7 billion for the Southern border wall from the military, the Military Times reported.
The president wants to divert $3.7 billion that was earmarked to build schools, training centers and other facilities on military bases for use on the wall, with another $3.5 billion coming from counter-drug programs.
Both Republicans and Democrats Upset
“I wish they wouldn’t take [wall funding] out of defense. I want to build the wall, I supported direct appropriations for it and fought for it — but we have to evaluate what this does to the military, what it affects, where and how,” Senate Appropriations Committee Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby, a Republican, said.
“The only thing I know about it is what I’ve read, so we are in the process of exploring. I’m certainly very supportive of the wall at the southern border,” Veterans Affairs Subcommittee Chairman Republican Sen. John Boozman, of Arkansas, said. “But also I’m very supportive of the fact that our MilCon dollars are underfunded to begin with.
And four top Democrats in the Senate wrote a letter to Defense Secretary Mark Esper asking that funds not be moved from the Pentagon and towards the wall.
“We are deeply concerned with reports that the President intends to raid another $7.2 billion from the Department of Defense (DoD) to construct a border wall,” the letter signed by Sens. Patrick Leahy (Vt.), Dick Durbin (Ill.), Jack Reed and Brian Schatz (Hawaii).
“We urge you to oppose this action and consider the airmen in aging hangars, soldiers in failing maintenance shops, sailors training to improve readiness, Marines in asbestos-laden operations centers, and all of their families relying on deteriorating schools and child development centers, before you divert funding from military construction accounts,” it said.
The Current Build
The Pentagon diverted $7 billion last year to build barriers in New Mexico, Arizona and California, The Military Times reported.
As of Jan. 13, around $3 billion in contracts had been awarded to companies to build 200 miles of the wall, according to figures from the Army Corps of Engineers.
“I can’t give you any information on any future budget decisions,” Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said to reporters about what was spent.