Senate Democrats immediately lashed out.
President Donald Trump’s week continues to get better! The Pentagon notified Congress on Monday that it has authorized $1 billion to begin border wall construction.
The amount will cover 57 miles.
From Fox News:
The fencing, which will be 18 feet high, is to be erected in the Yuma and El Paso sectors, the statement read. The Pentagon’s announcement was notable. A reporter from the New York Times tweeted that it is the first time the funds will be transferred under section 284 for the border wall.
Section 284 allows the Pentagon to “construct roads and fences and to install lighting to block drug-smuggling corridors across international boundaries of the United States in support of counter-narcotic activities of Federal law enforcement agencies,” the statement read.
Last week, the Pentagon released a spreadsheet of projects that have more funds than needed, which could provide funding for a border wall since Congress only wanted to give Trump $1.4 billion.
Trump wants $3.6 billion.
Trump declared a national emergency at the border last month when Congress agreed only to give him $1.4 billion. Congress attempted to stop this declaration, but Trump vetoed their resolution. Congress more than likely does not have the votes to override the veto.
Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan stated “that the funds will be used to support the Department of Homeland Security and Customs and Border Patrol.” He notified Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen that his department “had the authority to support counter-narcotics activities near international boundaries.”
After Shanahan authorized the transfer of funds to the US Army Corps of Engineers, the Democrats on the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense and Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies criticized his move:
“We strongly object to both the substance of the funding transfer, and to the Department implementing the transfer without seeking the approval of the congressional defense committees and in violation of provisions in the defense appropriation itself,” the senators wrote in a letter to Shanahan, according to CNN. “As a result, we have serious concerns that the Department has allowed political interference and pet projects to come ahead of many near-term, critical readiness issues facing our military.”
Those who signed the letter include Sens. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, Dick Durbin of Illinois, Brian Schatz of Hawaii, Chris Murphy of Connecticut, Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, and Dianne Feinstein of California, among others.
The Democrats can scream all they want, but Trump is well within his power to do this by using a “specific statutory authority that congress created for the president” in the National Emergencies Act. Trump’s declaration stated “that it is necessary to increase the use of military forces at the border and to invoke the emergency military construction authority in 10 U.S.C. § 2808, which will provide funding for the construction of border walls.”
This gives the Defense Department the ability to move around funds, even if those funds did not get allocated for a border wall:
(a) In the event of a declaration of war or the declaration by the President of a national emergency in accordance with the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1601 et seq.) that requires use of the armed forces, the Secretary of Defense, without regard to any other provision of law, may undertake military construction projects, and may authorize the Secretaries of the military departments to undertake military construction projects, not otherwise authorized by law that are necessary to support such use of the armed forces. Such projects may be undertaken only within the total amount of funds that have been appropriated for military construction, including funds appropriated for family housing, that have not been obligated.
(b) When a decision is made to undertake military construction projects authorized by this section, the Secretary of Defense shall notify, in an electronic medium pursuant to section 480 of this title, the appropriate committees of Congress of the decision and of the estimated cost of the construction projects, including the cost of any real estate action pertaining to those construction projects.
I predict in the near future that the Pentagon will authorize more money for the wall.DONATE
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