Published: Thu, March 21, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Pentagon lists possible project cuts to pay for border wall

Pentagon lists possible project cuts to pay for border wall

Acting defense secretary Patrick Shanahan identified all of the projects that could possibly be affected by President Trump's decision to use emergency authorities to take up to $3.6 billion in military construction funds for his border wall. Jack Reed of Rhode Island, top Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said in a statement.

"We know President Trump wants to take money from our national security accounts to pay for his wall, and now we have a list of some of the projects and needed base repairs that could be derailed or put on the chopping block as a result", Reed said in a statement.

They will examine whether diverting funds for planned construction projects will affect what the Pentagon says is a $116 billion backlog in military facility maintenance needs.

Speaking before the start of his meeting with his French counterpart, Shanahan was asked if he had sent the list of projects to Congress.

The list shows the Truax project would be awarded in March of 2020.

Evan Hollander, a spokesperson for Democratic Rep. Nita Lowey, chair of the House Appropriations Committee, also reacted angrily stating: "Today's submission is just a list that tells Congress what projects it already approved, and is nothing more than another stall tactic created to delay the political consequences of President Trump's emergency declaration".

Hundreds of projects listed have a combined price tag of around $12.9 billion.

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The list includes almost an entire page of elementary, middle and high school projects, a working dog treatment facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and a fire and rescue station at Joint Base Charleston, S.C.

He directed the Treasury Department to shift $601 million from a forfeiture fund to wall-building, then ordered the Pentagon to tap as much as $2.5 billion in drug interdiction money and up to $3.6 billion in military construction money. "And at the level of governance, we ought to be dealing with the crisis at the southern border, which is real, and we ought to be reforming the National Emergencies Act, which gives too much power to presidents, going forward".

Both the Senate and the House have now passed a "motion of disapproval" against the national emergency and Trump last Friday signed a veto of the motion, the first veto of his presidency.

Over the weekend, Kaine questioned whether the plan to deliver the list after a Senate vote to rebuke the president's emergency declaration, which was scheduled for Thursday as well, was politically motivated.

Throughout his presidential campaign, Trump said that Mexico would pay for a wall, but it has consistently refused. James Inhofe, R-Okla., chairman of the Armed Services panel, said the document "is not a list of projects that will definitively be impacted".

Lt. Col. Joe Buccino said Homeland Security still has not given the Pentagon a list of specific border barrier construction projects that the military would then use to determine which support "use of the armed forces", as the law requires.

He further outlined his frustrations on CBS News' Face the Nation on Sunday morning.

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