Aside from his concerted efforts to revitalize the U.S. economy, securing the nation’s southern border with a border wall and increased security measures has arguably been President Donald Trump’s top priority.
Of course, obstinate Democrats and establishment Republicans have fought tooth and nail against the president’s attempts to garner the necessary funding for border wall construction through the normal congressional appropriations process over the past two years, which resulted in Trump’s Feb. 15 declaration of a national emergency, which authorized him to shift previously appropriated funds from one purpose to another.
The Washington Examiner reported that, in light of the president’s declaration, the Department of Defense has identified roughly $12.8 billion in un-allocated or non-priority project spending that could be re-purposed toward border wall construction.
That’s more than three times more than the $3.6 billion in Pentagon funds that Trump had proposed.
The news was actually made public by Democratic Rhode Island Sen. Jack Reed, who took to social media to fearmonger and lament the re-purposing of military construction funds.
Trump Admin finally releases its list of at-risk #milcon projects that could be put on the chopping block in order to divert billions to pay for Trump’s ineffective #borderwall. Take a look – military bases in your state could be negatively impacted.
— Senator Jack Reed (@SenJackReed) March 18, 2019
Reed tweeted, “Trump Admin finally releases its list of at-risk #milcon projects that could be put on the chopping block in order to divert billions to pay for Trump’s ineffective #borderwall. Take a look – military bases in your state could be negatively impacted.”
Within Reed’s official statement criticizing the move was a link to a Defense Department fact sheet on the “Section 2808 Funding Pool,” which is essentially a spreadsheet style listing of military construction projects at bases around the world that were funded “in excess” of what was necessary to complete that particular project.
The fact sheet made clear that no final decisions had been made, as of yet, and noted that if Congress fully funded the department for Fiscal Year 2020, not a single project would suffer a cancellation or delay.
Further, the fact sheet noted several “criteria” that would render funding for certain projects as being protected from suffering a negative impact regardless of future congressional appropriations, such as already awarded projects or projects pertaining to barracks and military housing.
“Once the above criteria is applied, the pool has a total value that is in excess of the amount needed to source potential section 2808 projects,” the Pentagon said in the fact sheet.
Following that first page laying out the basis of the military re-allocating construction funds under the authorization of U.S. Code Title 10, Section 2808, came 20 pages of spreadsheets that detailed the numerous projects at bases from all military branches located across the country and around the world from which border wall construction funds could potentially be pulled.
It is worth noting that some of the projects listed had unawarded funding that had been initially appropriated as far back as the 2015 fiscal, as well as in each fiscal year following that until the present.
California would be “hardest hit,” so to speak, in that roughly $700 million that had been allocated to numerous military construction projects in the state were identified as being part of the broader pool of potentially available funding.
To be sure, nobody wants to see necessary or vital military construction projects placed on hold or completely canceled.
But given the fact that the military’s annual budget is routinely in excess of $700 billion, siphoning off less than $13 billion from non-priority projects seems reasonable and acceptable, especially in light of the benefit those funds could now provide via the border wall.
Also, considering how uncooperative the Democrat-dominated state of California has been with regard to President Trump and the border, it is rather humorous and ironic to the rest of us that the state would be the one to — indirectly at least — potentially pony up enough funds to build the border wall that state lawmakers and officials have staunchly opposed.
But it has to be galling in the Golden State.
President Trump has made it abundantly clear that he intends to secure the southern border with barriers and walls, where necessary, with or without Congress.
This list of unused project funding from the military makes it even clearer that he intends to succeed in that goal, whether Democrats and California agree with him or not.