The Trump administration is looking into diverting more funds from the Pentagon budget to the building of the border wall, said a U.S. official with knowledge of the project’s funding.
The discussions come after $3.6 million of military construction funds were already transferred to the construction of the long-promised wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. The project has the support of both the Pentagon and the Interior Department, which announced earlier this week that it would transfer 560 acres of land along the southern border to the Army for the building of the wall.
The administration could divert an additional $18.4 billion for about 500 miles of new wall by next year’s presidential election, The Washington Post reports, citing planning documents. The documents show that to construct a mile of wall the administration would have to spend $36 million, as well as that it would have to obtain, through various means, the land that lies under nearly 200 miles of proposed barrier.
Officials said that during a meeting earlier this month, senior officials looked into a plan to press lawmakers to reimburse $3.6 billion of Pentagon money that has already been diverted towards the construction of the wall. The President plans to hold biweekly meetings at the White House to discuss the construction, CNN informs.
Another $5 billion, which is yet to be approved, has been requested by the White House to cover for wall funding in 2020, including for processing centers. Should it not be, the administration would use Pentagon funding again.
However, dipping into military construction funding would certainly anger Democrats, who have opposed the diversion of Pentagon money towards the border barrier. According to Defense Department officials, 127 military construction projects would be stopped in order to use the $3.6 billion.