Trump Administration RAISES $3.6B from Pentagon to Support border wall.
WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump’s administration said Tuesday it will redirect $3.6 billion in Pentagon money to step up construction of the president’s proposed wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, drawing howls from Democrats who said the money would be better spent on military construction.
Though long expected, the transfer of money to speed work on Trump’s signature domestic policy proposal prompted a sharp rebuke from Democrats on Capitol Hill as lawmakers got word about which projects would be cut to pay for wall construction.
The Pentagon will cut funding to 127 construction projects, an official speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss details of the arrangement told USA TODAY. The administration declined to detail which projects, specifically. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said the Military Academy at West Point is on the list.
“It is a slap in the face to the members of the armed forces who serve our country that President Trump is willing to cannibalize already allocated military funding to boost his own ego and for a wall he promised Mexico would pay to build,” Schumer said.
The Supreme Court ruled in July that Trump could use billions in a separate pot of military funding to begin building a portion of the wall along the nation’s southern border. The court’s order came months after Trump declared a national emergencyto redirect funds from other federal agencies to the Department of Homeland Security.
The $3.6 billion in military construction at issue on Tuesday faces separate litigation.
The American Civil Liberties Union said Tuesday it will seek a court order to block use of the funds as part of its ongoing lawsuit challenging the emergency declaration.
“The fact that the government sat on these so-called ‘emergency funds’ for seven months further confirms that this is nothing but an unlawful power grab,” said Dror Ladin, an attorney with the ACLU’s National Security Project.
The money would pay for 175 miles of border barrier.
Trump made the border wall a central theme of his 2016 campaign. Though the president has framed barrier construction as already well underway, most of that work was to replace existing fencing. The White House has struggled to get Congress to sign off on a large investment for new wall construction.
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