Dems Cry Foul as Pentagon Transfers $1B for Border Wall

Defense chief Shanahan will be grilled by a House panel over the move
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 26, 2019 5:34 AM CDT
Updated Mar 26, 2019 6:41 AM CDT
Pentagon Authorizes $1B Border Wall Transfer
In this Jan. 9, 2019 photo, construction crews install new border wall sections seen from Tijuana, Mexico.   (AP Photo/Gregory Bull, File)

"Christmas came early this week," Donald Trump Jr. tweeted Monday night after the Pentagon authorized the transfer of $1 billion to build 57 miles of border wall. The transfer is the first under the emergency declared last month by President Trump, who retweeted his son's remark. In a statement, the Pentagon said acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan had "authorized the commander of the US Army Corps of Engineers to begin planning and executing up to $1 billion in support to the Department of Homeland Security and Customs and Border Patrol," the BBC reports. In a letter to Homeland Security, Shanahan said the money will help block "up to 11 drug-smuggling corridors along the border."

Democratic senators sent a letter to Shanahan objecting to both the "substance of the transfer" and the decision to make it without "seeking the approval of the congressional defense committees," CNN reports. Shanahan is expected to face "intense questioning" over the transfer when he testifies before the House Armed Services Committee on Tuesday, the Hill reports. Trump plans to use $6.1 billion in Pentagon funds—$3.6 billion from military construction funds and $2.5 billion from counter-drug efforts—to build a border wall. Reuters reports that the House will vote Tuesday on overriding Trump's veto of a resolution to cancel the emergency declaration, but few expect the measure to gain enough GOP votes for a two-thirds majority. (Read more border wall stories.)

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