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Trump to use $3.6 billion in defence money to build wall, in ‘slap’ to military: senator - National


The Trump administration has secured $3.6 billion in funding from the Pentagon to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, reports said Tuesday.

The money is coming out of a budget for 127 military construction projects, and it’s a “slap” in the face to U.S. Armed Forces members, said one Democratic senator.

WATCH: (July 27) Supreme Court allows $2.5 billion for Trump’s border wall

U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper has agreed to earmark funds out of the Pentagon’s budget for the wall, The Washington Post reported.

The Pentagon hasn’t specified which projects will be losing those funds, but approximately half of them were expected to go toward improvements at U.S. military bases located in other countries, and half at domestic ones, Politico reported.

A list is expected to be released later this week.

READ MORE: Trump can use $2.5B from Pentagon funds to build border wall — Supreme Court

New York Democrat Chuck Schumer, minority leader in the Senate, called the decision a “slap in the face to the members of the Armed Forces who serve our country.”

He said the money was appropriated, in part, for work at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

The money is expected to fund 175 miles of wall along the southern border, and to scale back the need for military personnel, the Post reported.

The funds will also come in addition to $2.5 billion in Pentagon money that Congress had previously set aside for the purpose.

The decision to earmark the $2.5 billion was the subject of a legal challenge before the Supreme Court, after a California judge previously prevented the funds because they hadn’t been set aside specifically for the wall.

WATCH: (May 25) Judge blocks some funds for U.S.-Mexico border wall

However, the Supreme Court reversed that decision in a 5-4 vote.

Esper described the work that the border wall money will fund in a letter to Sen. James Inhofe, chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

The most expensive work will take place on “Laredo Project 7,” which will involve building 52 miles of a new fence system along the Rio Grande. That project alone will cost $1.268 billion.

READ MORE: Donald Trump wants $8.6 billion for the border wall now — up from $5.7 billion

There’s also “Yuma Project 3,” a $630-million initiative to build “31 miles of vehicle barriers with new pedestrian fencing.”

The funds have been approved as the southwest border has seen dramatic drops in apprehensions in recent months, according to Customs and Border Patrol (CBP).

There were over 144,000 apprehensions and inadmissibles in May, marking a six-year high.

That number fell to just over 82,000 in July, though that was still high compared to several months going back to October 2014.

— With files from Reuters

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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