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Pentagon To Spend Up To $1 Billion To Build Trump’s Border Wall

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The Department of Defense will allocate up to $1 billion in funding to build President Trump‘s wall along the US-Mexico border, acting defense secretary Patrick Shanahan said in a letter Monday night.

Shanahan wrote to Department of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen that military funding would be provided for construction along the border to combat drug smuggling. DHS had requested military funding last month to construct roads, lighting, and fencing at 11 project sites along the border.

Shanahan agreed to provide funds up to $1 billion for three of the projects suggested by DHS, which he described as construction 57 miles of 18-foot-high pedestrian fencing, roads, and lighting in El Paso and Yuma.

Shanahan is scheduled to testify before the House Armed Services Committee on Tuesday.

Also on Tuesday, House members are scheduled to vote to override President Trump‘s veto regarding a national emergency at the border. The House vote is expected to fail, and Trump‘s national emergency declaration is expected to continue.

That national emergency has threatened the combat readiness of the Marine Corps, commandant Gen. Robert Neller said last week. He cited the deployment of troops onto the border as well as the diversion of funding toward border construction.

Senate Democrats have also questioned the impact of diverting defense funds toward border construction. Shanahan previously provided a list of military construction projects that could be put on hold because of the transfer of funding to the border.

“This manufactured crisis serves no purpose other than to further the President’s misguided focus on anti-immigrant rhetoric, instead of what is in the best interest of national security,” Rep. Adam Smith, chair of the House Armed Services Committee, said in a statement earlier this month.

Projects on the list ranged from a flight simulator at an Air National Guard station in California to a water treatment facility at North Carolina’s Camp Lejeune.

In his statement, Smith said he looked forward to questioning Shanahan at the committee hearing.

“We look forward to hearing how he intends to pilfer the military construction accounts, circumvent the intended nature of the law, while simultaneously abusing the trust of the American people,” he said.

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