Pentagon to divert $3.6 billion to fund Trump’s wall
September 5, 2019 - U.S. Defence Secretary Mark Esper has approved the use of $3.6 billion in funding from military construction projects to build 280km (175 miles) of President Donald Trump’s wall along the Mexican border.
Pentagon officials said 127 projects will be affected. Half of the money will come from military projects in the U.S., and the rest will come from projects in other countries.
Congress approved $1.375 billion for wall construction in this year’s budget, same as the previous year and far less than the $5.7 billion that the White House sought. Trump grudgingly accepted the money to end a 35-day government shutdown in February but simultaneously declared a national emergency to take money from other government accounts, identifying up to $8.1 billion for wall construction.
The transferred funds include $600 million from the Treasury Department’s asset forfeiture fund, $2.5 billion from Defence Department counterdrug activities and now the $3.6 billion pot for military housing construction announced Tuesday.
The Pentagon reviewed the list of military projects and said none that provided housing or critical infrastructure for troops would be affected, in the wake of recent scandals over poor living quarters for service members in several parts of the country. Defence officials also said they would focus on projects set to begin in 2020 and beyond, with the hope that the money could eventually be restored by Congress.