The U.S. Department of defense is reportedly diverting $3.6 billion (3.3 billion euros) from existing projects to build the border wall with mexico that president donald trump has requested.
Trump said wednesday in washington that pentagon chief mark esper had briefed members of congress on the plans. Leading democrats immediately condemned the plan and accused trump of going on an ego trip – at the expense of the military and national security.
The pentagon wants to divert funds from 127 already approved projects to build about 280 kilometers of border wall, according to a report in the washington post.
Building a wall on the 3,200-kilometer border with mexico was one of trump’s key promises before he was elected president. Congress, however, refused to give him the funds he asked for, instead granting him less money for border installations than he asked for.
On 15. On february, trump had declared a national emergency on the border with mexico to raise additional billions for the border wall without parliamentary approval and to reallocate existing funds to it. He justified the state of emergency with an alleged "invasion" of migrants, criminal gangs as well as drug smuggling. With the help of the emergency declaration, the president can tap other funds, especially from the defense ministry. But this is legally very controversial.
Trump’s action had drawn fierce battles with congress and numerous lawsuits. First, a court barred him from using defense department funds. However, in late july, the u.S. Supreme court gave the go-ahead. Now trump is getting his way, which is meeting resistance from democrats.
Diverting funds from already approved projects is an "irresponsible decision" that violates the house’s budget authority and harms national security, house speaker nancy pelosi, a democrat, said tuesday night (local time). Senate democratic leader chuck schumer complained that cannibalizing already planned military spending for wall-building was an ego trip by trump and a "slap in the face" to all soldiers.
Democratic sentor jack reed accused trump of only wanting to serve his supporters and taking security risks to do so. Defense means are intended for national defense.
Trump rejected the criticism. The situation at the border is a problem for national security. Esper agrees. "The wall is being built," says the president. There is rough progress here. The goal is to complete 800 kilometers of wall sections by the end of 2020, shortly after the next U.S. Presidential election in november of next year, thus securing all security-relevant areas.
In the past, he had spoken of a much longer stretch of about 1100 to 1450 kilometers. However, in view of the rude opposition to his central plan, trump had gradually backed away from individual demands and promises, including the idea of a wall made of concrete. Rough sections of the border with mexico are already secured with barriers and fences erected under trump’s administration. Trump to run for a second term in 2020 election.