Trump diverting funds from military to pay for wall

Esper defence funds diverted to border wall legal

Esper defence funds diverted to border wall legal

The US Defence Department is shifting another US$3.8 billion from procurement and other operations towards paying for a wall on the US-Mexican border, official documents sent to the US Congress showed Thursday. And he has used various transfer and emergency authorities to shift nearly $7 billion more from the emergency declaration, a forfeiture fund containing money seized by law enforcement, and funding for military counter-drug activities.

According to the budget documents, the Pentagon is pulling the funding from two F-35 fighter jets and two Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft for the Marine Corps; one P-8A reconnaissance aircraft for the Navy; and four C-130J transport planes and eight MQ-9 Reaper drones for the Air Force. It would cut money for National Guard units, shipbuilding accounts and 17 aircraft and transfer it to anti-drug accounts that can finance construction of new wall.

The Pentagon reportedly told Congress that the earmarked funds either exceeded the military's present needs or are not yet necessary given the schedule of the programs in question, the Post notes.

Attorney General William Barr criticizes President Trump in an interview with ABC news. The diverted $6.1 billion a year ago was taken from military construction and counter-drug funds and used to fund the border wall.

The Pentagon in Washington.

"The Constitution gives Congress, not the President, the power of the purse". Some U.S. states and advocacy groups are challenging the legality of the administration's plans in federal courts.

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DHS last month asked the Pentagon to fund the construction of 271 miles of border wall at a cost of about $5.5 billion, as part of a counter-drug effort.

The Trump administration has built almost 100 miles (160 km) of border wall, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection statistics current to late December.

Trump ordered active-duty troops, in addition to National Guardsmen, to the southern border in 2018 to reinforce ports of entry and construct physical barriers along the border in response to large migrant caravans trying to enter the United States.

Despite congressional opposition, Trump faced no consequences when making similar transfers a year ago, when the Pentagon canceled dozens of military construction projects to free up $3.6 billion and transferred $2.5 billion in counter-drug money. But the money wasn't replenished, so the projects are de facto canceled until they receive funding.

Other Republican lawmakers likely have concerns as well, Defense News said, since numerous items targeted by the Pentagon were specifically added by Congress to the 2020 defense appropriations bill, including equipment manufactured in districts represented by lawmakers from both parties.

A journalist in Anapara, Mexico, sticks her microphone through a through a border fence to interview a Border Patrol agent. He alienated lawmakers on both sides past year when diverting funding intended for popular projects on military bases.

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