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Pentagon Announces $1 Billion to Congress to Start Construction of New Wall

WASHINGTON – The Pentagon informed Congress on Monday night that it had authorized the transfer of $1 billion for the construction of new walls along the US-Mexico border, prompting immediate objections from Democratic legislators, CNN said Tuesday.
A Pentagon budget reprogramming notification sent Monday to Capitol Hill and obtained by CNN indicates that a billion dollars will go to the construction of 57 km of fences, road improvements and other measures on the southern border.
The Defense Department has authorized the Corps of Army Engineers to start planning and building the project on Monday night. The ministry will direct the funds to an 18-foot-high fence along the border sections of Yuma and El Paso, according to a letter from Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan to Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.
In February, President Donald Trump declared a national emergency to spend billions of dollars on building walls. As part of his announcement, he recommended the use of anti-drug funds to partially finance the construction of new walls. In the context of the national emergency, other funds may also be allocated for the construction of the wall and associated infrastructure, including military construction funds.
Monday’s announcement was only the first billion dollars that the administration makes available for full funding. The administration has previously announced plans to transfer an additional $1.5 billion in the future.
These initial counter-drug funds will go from the Department of Homeland Security to the Corps of Engineers of the Army to begin construction.
Senate Democrats immediately opposed the transfer of money for the construction of fences along the southern border to block drug trafficking.
Every Democratic senator on the subcommittees of the Senate Defense and Military Credits Committee, veterans and allied organizations signed a letter to Shanahan in which he objected to $1 billion dollars in funding mobilized to counter funds for drugs. Senators say the Pentagon did not ask for permission before advising the transfer committee.
“We strongly oppose the substance of the transfer of funds and the implementation of the transfer by the department without seeking the approval of the congressional defense committees and in violation of the provisions of the defense credit itself,” wrote the senators. “Therefore, we are seriously concerned that the ministry has allowed political interference and exciting plans before many of the critical short-term readiness issues our military faces.”
The letter was signed by Sens. Patrick Leahy, Vermont Democrat; Dick Durbin, Democrat of Illinois; Jack Reed, Democrat of Rhode Island; Brian Schatz, Democrat of Hawaii; Jon Tester, Montana Democrat; Patty Murray, Democrat of Washington; Chris Murphy, Connecticut Democrat; Tammy Baldwin, Wisconsin Democrat; Dianne Feinstein, California Democrat; and Tom Udall, Democrat of New Mexico.
(Sahar News Monitoring Desk)

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