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DOD lists $12.8B ‘unused’ funds for border wall construction

U.S. President Donald Trump meets with U.S. Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick M. Shanahan along with top military and civilian leadership at the Pentagon, Washington, D.C., March 15, 2019. (U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Angelita M. Lawrence/Department of Defense)
March 19, 2019

The Pentagon has found $12.8 billion in funded projects that could potentially be used for the southern border wall.

After a review of the military construction budget, the Defense Department produced a list of 400 funded military construction projects totaling $12.8 billion that could be tapped for the border wall construction under President Donald Trump’s national emergency declaration, the Washington Examiner reported Tuesday.

Democrat Sen. Jack Reed tweeted the 20-page document that identifies each project by military branch and state, and identifies any unused funds from fiscal year 2015 and newer.

“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,” Reed tweeted along with a link to the document.

The report identified $700 million unused funds for military construction projects in California, and another $400 million in Hawaii.

The list includes projects such as barracks, hangars, equipment shops, airfields, parking facilities and more.

It’s not yet clear which projects the funds will be drawn from, but the document notes specifically that “No military housing, barracks, or dormitory projects will be impacted.”

“The appearance of any project within the pool does not mean that the project will, in fact, be used,” the document adds.

Trump’s national emergency order uses powers afforded by the National Emergencies Act to determine what issues to declare an emergency, and taps into unused funds for a response.

He deployed the national emergency order after Congress approved just $1.375 billion for border security, permitting only 55 miles of border fencing, despite his request for $5.7 billion.

The order intended to draw an additional $6.5 billion from federal departments – $3.6 billion of which would be diverted from the Pentagon’s military construction budget. Another $2.5 billion would be pulled from the military counternarcotics programs, and $600 million from an asset forfeiture program in the Treasury Department.

Members of Congress who opposed the order – including Reed – claimed that the funds diverted by the national emergency declaration would harm states’ military bases.

Last week, Congress passed a resolution to overturn Trump’s emergency declaration, which he vetoed – the first of his presidency.

Attorney General Bill Barr said Trump’s national emergency declaration was “clearly authorized under the law,” adding that the southern border crisis warranted such a declaration.