The Washington Post has reported that President Trump will use his national emergency powers to:
divert an additional $7.2 billion in Pentagon funding for border wall construction this year, five times what Congress authorized him to spend on the project in the 2020 budget, according to internal planning figures obtained by The Washington Post.
The Pentagon funds would be extracted, for the second year in a row, from military construction projects and counternarcotics funding. According to the plans, the funding would give the government enough money to complete [a total of] approximately 885 miles of new fencing by spring 2022, far more than the 509 miles the administration has slated for the U.S. border with Mexico.
According to the report, $3.5 billion will come from military counterdrug programs and the remainder will come from military construction funding. The added funding brings the total amount of border wall spending during the Trump administration to $18.4 billion.
Over 100 miles of “upgraded wall system” have been completed and an additional 350 miles are in various stages of construction.
Although many liberal groups have brought lawsuits to stop the border wall construction, on January 8, “the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New Orleans lifted the curbs while the DOJ prepares to appeal the lower judge’s decision to block the spending because of the lawsuit.” This ruling released $3.6 billion for the wall.
White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham issued a statement following the court’s ruling, saying it had “lifted an illegitimate nationwide injunction” and “in doing so has allowed vital border wall construction to move forward using military construction funds. This is a victory for the rule of law. We are committed to keeping our borders secure, and we will finish the wall.”
According to the Post, “several dozen Pentagon construction projects were delayed or suspended as a result of last year’s reprogramming of $3.6 billion, including road repairs, a waste treatment plant and school construction projects on military bases. It’s unclear if those projects will be delayed again, or if a different set of repairs and improvements could be postponed.”
Considering that the 2020 budget provides $700 billion for defense spending, somehow I don’t think it will be a problem.
Last week, acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf told reporters in Yuma, AZ, “I can tell you right now that we remain confident that we are on track to [reach] 400, 450 miles that are either completed or under construction by the end of 2020.”
This will help President Trump in November. Despite the tremendous Democratic opposition his efforts to build a border wall have faced, he will still have managed to build 400 miles by Election Day. And if he wins reelection, he will complete it in his second term.