The Pentagon is moving forward with the Trump administration’s plan to move billions of dollars away from military projects to fund the construction of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, according to reports from Politico, The Washington Post and CNN.
Secretary of Defense Mark Esper on Tuesday officially authorized the transfer of up to $3.6 billion from the Pentagon to fund 11 construction projects along the border, according to a letter obtained by CNN.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) confirmed he received news of the authorization on Twitter.
Starting Wednesday, the Post reported, Pentagon officials will notify lawmakers of districts where there are military construction projects that will be affected by the diversion of funds.
There are 127 Department of Defense projects that will be affected by this move, with $1.8 billion in funding coming from projects outside the U.S. and another $1.8 billion from projects within the U.S., Politico reported, citing a Pentagon official.
In February, President Donald Trump declared a national emergency at the U.S.-Mexico border to sidestep Congress and secure money to build the border wall in an attempt to thwart illegal immigration, despite initial promises that Mexico would be paying for the wall’s construction.
The emergency declaration allowed Trump to divert government money from other projects to fund the wall. The effort faced legal challenges, though the Supreme Court ruled in Trump’s favor in July, allowing his administration to redirect the military funds.
After being notified of the Pentagon’s authorization on Tuesday, Schumer called the funding diversion a “slap in the face to the members of the Armed Forces.”
Trump “is willing to cannibalize already allocated military funding to boost his own ego, and for a wall he promised Mexico would pay to build.”