Pentagon halts 127 projects for border wall funding
3 months ago 70 Papillon

Pentagon halts numerous projects for wall funding?!


Defense Secretary, Mark Esper, authorized the use of U.S. military funding towards projects to build President Donald Trump's border wall. Approximately $3.6 billion was allocated towards 11 military construction projects for Trump's use. The funding will cover construction for around 175 miles—about 280 kilometers—of fencing along the U.S.-Mexican border.


Esper’s decision Tuesday fuels what has been a continuous problem between the Trump administration and Congress over immigration policies and the funding of the border wall. It sets up a difficult debate for law-makers who refused, earlier this year, to approve almost $6 billion for the wall. But now they must decide if they will refund the projects that are being used to supply the money.


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Pentagon officials seemed reluctant to say which of the 127 projects were to be affected, but said details were to be after members of Congress were notified. They had claimed that half of the money will be coming from U.S. military project funds, and the other half will be coming from projects in other countries.


Capitol Hill Democrats have promised they won't replace the money needed to revive the projects. Some even vowed to try to use a temporary government-wide funding bill to attempt to block Trump altogether. The ACLU also said they'll be filing the same motion to block Trump from using the $3.6 billion from being used.


In early February, President Trump sought the money when he declared a national emergency for the border crisis. In July, the Supreme Court ruled that Trump's allotment of Pentagon funds for the wall was indeed acceptable. Deputy Under Secretary of Defense, Pentagon comptroller, Elaine McCusker, expects construction at the border to start in about 130 days, per CNN.


She's also claimed that the now unfunded projects are not going to be canceled. However, the Pentagon added that the military projects are being "deferred" rather than canceled. The Defense Department, however, has no guarantee from Congress that any of the money will be replaced.


Representative, Henry Cuellar, of Texas commented on the situation: "It takes away from the men and women who are waiting for an air traffic control tower or waiting for a dining building or a dormitory. It affects the morale of our men and women and their readiness. So it's wrong," He continues with, "It doesn't take any input from the local communities. It will take away from private property rights."


Trump has so far been successful in building replacement barriers within the 654 miles of fencing built during the time of the Obama and Bush administrations. The funding shift will allow for about 115 more miles of new pedestrian fencing in sections where there isn't any now.


"The wall is being built. It's going up rapidly," Trump said. "And we think by the end of next year, which will be some time right after the election actually, but we think we're going to have close to 500 miles of wall, which will be complete."


"It's 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," said the Senate Democratic Leader, Chuck Schumer, of New York. Schumer claims the funding shift will affect the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.


One of the Senate's most endangered Republicans in the 2020 election, Arizona Senator, Martha McSally, reported that her state is getting nicked for just $30 million from a project that was already being postponed anyway.


Congress approved $1.375 billion for the wall's construction in this year's budget. Same as the previous year, and far less than the $5.7 billion that the White House sought to claim. 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, adding up to over $8 billion for wall construction.


The funds transferred from government accounts include $2.5 billion from the Defense Department and $600 million from the Treasury Department.


The government will spend the military money on the 11 wall projects in California, Arizona, and Texas, the administration said in a filing Tuesday in a lawsuit started by the ACLU. The most expensive is for 52 miles (84 kilometers) in Laredo, Texas, at a cost of $1.27 billion.


The 175 miles covered by Pentagon funding is only a small fraction of the 1,954 mile (3,145 kilometers) U.S.-Mexican border.


ACLU attorney, Dror Ladin said, "We'll be back in court very soon to block Trump's latest effort to raid military funds for his xenophobic wall."

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