Everything is coming up Trump from the Mueller investigation’s conclusion the Avenatti charges, and now we can toss the Pentagon approving $1 billion for Trump’s border wall on to that.
Naturally, however, the Democrats aren’t happy and are doing whatever they can to lessen the victory.
According to The Hill, the Pentagon approved $1 billion to build 57 miles of border wall on Monday night according to a statement from the Defense Department. The funds will be used to build anti-pedestrian fencing across certain drug corridors:
Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan notified Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen of the transfer in a letter, released alongside the statement, which said the money will go to block “up to 11 drug-smuggling corridors along the border.”
Shanahan “authorized the commander of the U.S Army Corps of Engineers to begin planning and executing up to $1 billion in support to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Customs and Border Patrol,” according to the statement.
“These funds will be used to support DHS’s request to build 57 miles of 18-foot-high pedestrian fencing, constructing and improving roads, and installing lighting within the Yuma and El Paso Sectors of the border in support of the February 15 national emergency declaration on the southern border of the United States.”
Democrats, however, are already acting against the wall’s construction with various threats, namely from House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith rejecting the approval according to The Hill.
The committee sent a letter stating that it “denies this request” and “does not approve the proposed use of Department of Defense funds to construct additional physical barriers and roads or install lighting in the vicinity of the United States border.”
According to Smith, doing so would be “unbelievably irresponsible,” but Shanahan was ready with simple facts about it.
“I appreciate the inherent intra-government complexities of the southwest border situation. I also want to emphasize: The funds requested for the border barrier amount to less than one percent of the National Defense topline … Military construction on the border will not come at the expense of our people, our readiness, or our modernization,” said Shanahan.
Not that it matters, as the Pentagon does not need congressional approval to reprogram its own dollars. Smith’s rejection is largely symbolic. However, Smith warned that should the funding happen, that may change:
“It has been the practice of the Department of Defense to request approval and it’s not required by law,” one DOD official told reporters last month when asked if the Pentagon would move forward on the reprogramming if Congress does not approve the request.
“You are not asking for our permission,” Smith bluntly told Shanahan on Tuesday.
He also warned that should the department move ahead on the $1 billion transfer, “the result of that likely is that the Appropriations Committee in particular would no longer give the Pentagon reprogramming authority and I think that’s unfortunate because they need it.”
While Congress going after the Pentagon’s ability to reprogram its funds is concerning, it’s not stopping Shanahan, who told Smith that he’s under orders from the man in the Oval Office.
“Given a legal order from the commander in chief, we are executing on that order,” said Shanahan.