UPDATED 10:42 AM PT — Wednesday, January 15, 2020
The Trump administration is set to divert billions of dollars to further construction of the president’s border wall. According to documents obtained by The Washington Post, the White House is planning to reappropriate $7.2 billion for wall construction. This includes $3.5 billion from anti-drug trafficking programs and $3.7 billion from military construction projects.
The additional money on top of the $1.4 billion already approved by Congress will allow for the construction of more than 800 miles of border security infrastructure to be built by the spring of 2022. That’s above and beyond the current plan of just over 500 miles of border wall set to be completed by the end of this year.
Administration officials reportedly made the decision to divert more funds after the recent Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling, which reversed a lower court’s ruling prohibiting the administration from diverting military funds to the wall.
In February of 2019, the president signed a national emergency declaration for the humanitarian and security crisis at the southern border, which authorized the White House to divert funds for border security without regard to congressional appropriations.
Despite Democrats’ history of being proponents of military budget cuts, lawmakers like Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) have called the administration’s decision to once again divert funds to the border wall an “unconstitutional waste of money.” Leahy claimed the wall could be defeated by a $100 saw.