Trump is making plans to pull billions more from the Pentagon’s budget in 2020 to help in finish building 885 miles of the wall:
WASHINGTON POST – President Trump is preparing to divert an additional $7.2 billion in Pentagon funding for border wall construction this year, five times what Congress authorized him to spend on the project in the 2020 budget, according to internal planning figures obtained by The Washington Post.
The Pentagon funds would be extracted, for the second year in a row, from military construction projects and counternarcotics funding. According to the plans, the funding would give the government enough money to complete about 885 miles of new fencing by spring 2022, far more than the 509 miles the administration has slated for the U.S. border with Mexico.
Trump took $2.5 billion from military counterdrug programs for border barrier construction in 2019, but this year his administration is planning to take significantly more — $3.5 billion. Trump administration officials also are planning to take $3.7 billion in military construction funding, slightly more than the $3.6 billion diverted in 2019.
The Trump administration has completed 101 miles of new barriers so far, according to the latest figures, far less than the 450 miles the president has promised to erect by the end of the year. But construction along the border — largely on land the federal government already owns — has been continuing even as legal challenges have aimed to disrupt it.
As you may remember, just recently the 5th circuit lifted an injunction by a lower court that allowed Trump to spend the 3.6 billion he pulled in 2019 from the Pentagon’s budget while the trial continues.
A federal-district court in El Paso ruled last month that the White House broke the law when it commandeered funds for the border wall that had been authorized by Congress for another purpose. The court froze $3.6 billion the administration budgeted for new barriers.
But the Trump administration appealed that ruling, and last week the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, in New Orleans, lifted the injunction, saying work could proceed while legal challenges to the government are pending.
The president and his administration viewed that ruling as additional encouragement to take the money again this year, according to administration officials familiar with the plans.
Of course, all of this money being pulled from the Pentagon’s budget for the wall is justified under the National Emergency that Trump declared in March of last year. Hopefully the courts will continue to see it that way as well.