Pentagon prepared to provide additional financial support to border wall: Esper

Nellie Chapman
January 15, 2020

According to the plans, the funding would give the government enough money to complete about 885 miles of new fencing by Spring 2022, far more than the 509 miles the administration has slated for the USA border with Mexico.

The Trump administration will move $3.5 billion from counter-narcotics programs and $3.7 billion from military construction funds toward the completion of a barrier, the Washington Post reported Monday. "I support the president's efforts to secure the border, and in December, I voted to give the President $1.375 billion to continue building the border wall and clear authority to transfer up to $4 billion from the defense budget". Last week, Trump registered a small victory when the US Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, in New Orleans reversed the order of a federal court in El Paso, Texas, which had given a ruling to freeze the $3.6 billion because the Congress had designated it for other projects.

Several dozen Pentagon construction projects were delayed or suspended as a result of last year's reprogramming of $3.6 billion, including road repairs, a waste treatment plant and school construction projects on military bases. More than $6 billion was already diverted from those accounts for the border wall in 2019. That means the Pentagon would have to find money elsewhere in its budget for the remaining $2.45 billion.

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The bottom line: The administration's plans are sure to reignite the debate over the president's money grab - and they likely signal that the border wall will once again play a central role in Trump's election campaign.

But he issued a controversial declaration of a national emergency shortly afterward that allowed him to shift nearly three times as much money from military construction accounts to wall building. The administration has completed 101 miles of new barrier despite Trump's promise to build 450 miles of barrier by the end of 2020. Last July, the Supreme Court killed a lower-court injunction that put a stop to money transfers from the Pentagon to the border-wall project. "We are committed to keeping our borders secure, and we will finish the wall".

The Trump administration's attempt to build the barrier has faced numerous challenges before federal courts.

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