When he issued his national emergency declaration about the crisis on the southern border in February, President Donald Trump was hoping for $3.6 billion from the Pentagon that could be used to help build a border wall.
But a list of possible projects provided by the Pentagon shows that $12.8 billion worth of military construction projects — more than three times what Trump is requesting — could be slowed or stopped to divert money for the wall, the Washington Examiner reported.
The list was made public by Democratic Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island, who shared a spreadsheet that lists projects by state or country and branch of service.
Although $6.8 million worth of projects on the list are from the 2019 federal fiscal year, $1.8 billion worth of projects on the list — roughly half the amount Trump was seeking — are from prior to the 2018 federal fiscal year. All projects on the list are those for which contracts have not yet been awarded.
The Pentagon said that its list would not include military housing, barracks or dormitories.
Trump’s proposed budget for the 2020 federal fiscal year, which starts in October, calls for repaying the Pentagon construction fund $3.6 billion to make up for money repurposed for wall construction.
About $700 million worth of California projects are on the list, according to the Examiner.
Hawaii had more than $400 million worth of projects on the list, while Maine, New York, North Carolina, and Guam all topped $200 million worth of projects the Pentagon said could be stopped in order to allocate funds for the wall, the Examiner reported.
Inclusion on the list does not mean a project has been targeted to be stopped.
If Patrick Shanahan, acting secretary of defense, were to “determine that construction along the southwest border is necessary to aid the mission of military personnel supporting the Department of Homeland Security, some projects within this pool may be used to fund up to $3.6B in barrier construction,” Lt. Col. Joe Buccino, a Pentagon spokesman, told CNN.
Reed is opposed to Trump’s declaration. Last week, Congress tried to block the declaration from moving forward, but Trump vetoed a congressional resolution that sought to stop the declaration.
The resolution was drafted by Democrats, but passed in the Senate with the support of 12 Republican senators.
Those Republican Senators who voted in favor of Strong Border Security (and the Wall) are being uniformly praised as they return to their States. They know there is a National Emergency at the Southern Border, and they had the courage to ACT. Great job!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 17, 2019
“What President Trump is doing is a slap in the face to our military that makes our border and the country less secure. He is planning to take funds from real, effective operational priorities and needed projects and divert them to his vanity wall,” Reed said in a statement Monday.
Trump, however, said that the congressional resolution and its supporters let down the country.
“The Democrat-sponsored resolution would terminate vital border security operations by revoking the national emergency issued last month. It is definitely a national emergency. Rarely have we had such a national emergency,” Trump said Friday as he vetoed the resolution, according to a White House media pool report.
Trump said the need for wall keeps rising.
“Last month, more than 76,000 illegal migrants arrived at our border. We’re on track for a million illegal aliens to rush our borders. People hate the word ‘invasion,’ but that’s what it is. It’s an invasion of drugs and criminals and people.
“We have no idea who they are, but we capture them because border security is so good,” he said, according to the pool report.
“But they’re put in a very bad position, and we’re bursting at the seams. Literally, bursting at the seams.”