Pentagon Halts Construction On 3 Border Fencing Projects Despite Trump’s Orders: Report
President Donald Trump ordered the Pentagon to use military funds to deliver on his campaign promise of a border wall. But the Defense Department is no longer moving forward with three border barrier projects in California and Arizona, according to a court filing Monday.
The move is a reversal of an earlier Pentagon authorization for about 20 miles of fencing, lighting and other border infrastructure that would have used $2.5 billion in funds redirected from a counter-drug fund. That authorization, announced Aug. 27, was based on what was then determined to be “lower-than-expected contract costs.” But the Defense Department revealed in the Monday filing that the department would not be able to cover the costs of the project, Politico reports.
The Defense Department initially authorized the funding after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers determined that it would likely be able to afford the projects using the counter-drug funds, but the Army Corps said it would not know the full financial situation until later in the fiscal year.
During the campaign, Trump declared that Mexico would pay for the border wall, but earlier this year, the president demanded Congress come up with billions of dollars for the wall.
After Congress declined that request and the government went into its longest shutdown in U.S. history, Trump declared a national emergency to divert defense funds toward border barriers.
Tapping into Pentagon funds for a border wall has prompted numerous legal challenges, including by the House, which argued it violated Congress’ constitutional power of the purse. A judge later dismissed the House suit.
The Supreme Court temporarily gave the green light in July for the administration to use $2.5 billion in Pentagon funds to replace already extant border infrastructure in California, Arizona and New Mexico, overturning blocks imposed by lower courts. But the ruling is not a final approval on the move, and the organizations and states challenging the budget shuffle continue their efforts in the courts.