Pentagon Tells Congress of Project Funding That Could Be Reallocated to Pay for Wall

March 19, 2019 Updated: March 19, 2019

WASHINGTON—Acting Pentagon Chief Patrick Shanahan said on March 18 he had provided Congress with a list of projects from the military construction budget that could be cut back in order to help pay for a wall on the border with Mexico.

Last month Trump declared a national emergency in a bid to fund his promised wall at the United States-Mexico border without congressional approval.

The emergency declaration allows the Trump administration to use money from the military construction budget if needed.

Trump issued the first veto of his presidency on Friday to block a measure passed by Democrats and Republicans in Congress that would terminate his emergency declaration for a wall on the United States border with Mexico to stem illegal immigration and crime.

Speaking before the start of his meeting with his French counterpart, Shanahan was asked if he had sent the list of projects to Congress.

“I have,” Shanahan said.

The more than 20-page document seen by Reuters included all the projects that were not awarded funding as of Dec. 31, 2018.

The list includes a cemetery at the U.S. Military Academy in New York and a command and control facility at Camp Tango in South Korea.

It is essentially up to Congress to go through the list and figure out which projects will not be affected, including military housing, barracks, and projects that have already been awarded funding.

Pentagon chief at Mexico border
Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan, center, Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford left, and El Paso Sector Chief Aaron Hull, right, aboard a helicopter tour of the US-Mexico border area west of El Paso, Texas on Feb. 23, 2019. (Pablo Martinez Monsivais – Pool /Getty Images)

In a statement, the Pentagon said the pool of projects included was valued at about $12.9 billion. The Pentagon has said it could use about $3.6 billion from the military construction budget this year if needed.

Mexico border wall
Aerial picture taken with a drone of the urban fencing on the border between the United States and Mexico in Tecate, northwestern Mexico on Jan. 26, 2017. (Mario Vazquez/AFP/Getty Images)

The issue was highlighted during a tense Congressional hearing on Thursday when Democratic Senators demanded that they be provided a list of military assets that could be impacted if funding was used to build a wall.

“We know President Trump wants to take money from our national security accounts to pay for his wall, and now we have a list of some of the projects and needed base repairs that could be derailed or put on the chopping block as a result,” Senator Jack Reed said in a statement.