Administration to Divert Billions From Pentagon to Fund Border Wall


“I’ll support the president on this,” he said, “but I wish they’d find the money somewhere else.”

Still, some Republicans whose districts would be harmed by the reallocation said they supported the president’s move and blamed Democratic reluctance to fund the wall. The plan would also take money designated to purchase F-35 fighter jets, which are built in the Fort Worth district of Representative Kay Granger of Texas, the top Republican on the House Appropriations Committee.

“Democrats have refused to work with us on border security, which has forced the president to redirect funds from other defense programs in the short term in order to secure the southern border,” Ms. Granger said in a statement, adding that she was confident that jobs in and around her district would be protected. “The president has come up with a reasonable approach that will provide the funding necessary to address the border crisis without jeopardizing our national security.”

Lt. Col. Chris Mitchell, a Defense Department spokesman, said the Department of Homeland Security had asked last month for assistance in blocking drug-smuggling corridors, and the $3.8 billion would be used to build approximately 177 miles of fencing.

“We will continue to support D.H.S. and other agencies as needed to keep our homeland secure,” Colonel Mitchell said.

With the new outline submitted Thursday, the administration will have earmarked more than $10 billion outside of what Congress has designated for the wall, to be transferred from military construction, counternarcotics and other programs. Democrats said Mr. Trump had been forced to resort to a “backdoor” means of funding the wall because Congress had repeatedly rejected his requests for money to pay for it.

“While some of our Republican colleagues will lament the president’s decision, they enabled this theft by blocking our efforts to stop the president from raiding defense accounts,” Representatives Nita M. Lowey, Democrat of New York and the chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee, and Pete Visclosky, Democrat of Indiana and the chairman of the subcommittee that deals with defense funding, said in a joint statement.

Mr. Visclosky sent a letter to the Pentagon rejecting the request, but the gesture is likely to be ignored. Democratic senators also raised concerns in a letter to Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper, declaring the move to be “divisive, but also poisonous to the relationship we seek on national defense matters.”



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