Sunday 22 September 2019

Pentagon plans to spend $3.6bn from military construction budget to pay for Mexico border wall

Donald Trump visited a new section of the border wall with Mexico in Calexico with Kirstjen Nielsen (Jacquelyn Martin/AP)
Donald Trump visited a new section of the border wall with Mexico in Calexico with Kirstjen Nielsen (Jacquelyn Martin/AP)

Idrees Ali

More than 120 U.S. military construction projects will be adversely affected as the Pentagon prepares to use $3.6 billion to help build or enhance parts of the border wall with Mexico, U.S. officials said on Tuesday.

Earlier this year, US President Donald Trump declared a national emergency in a bid to fund his promised wall at the U.S.-Mexico border.

The emergency declaration allows the Trump administration to use money from the military construction budget and the Pentagon has said it could use $3.6 billion from the budget.

In March, the Pentagon provided Congress with a broad list of projects that could be affected, but did not provide details.

On Tuesday, Pentagon officials said 127 would be impacted and the first $1.8 billion would come from deferred military construction projects outside the United States. The second tranche would come from deferred military projects inside the United States, the officials said.

"Department of Defense components and military departments provided input and prioritized projects based on affects on readiness and consistency with the national defense strategy," Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman told reporters.

Hoffman said lawmakers were being notified about the decision, after which the specific projects affected would be released.

The announcement was criticized by Democratic lawmakers.

Read more here: US Supreme Court allows use of Pentagon funds for border wall

"This decision will harm already planned, important projects intended to support our service members at military installations in New York, across the United States, and around the world," Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement.

Reuters

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