Speed Reads

Trump's Wall

Pentagon's list of projects defunded for Trump's wall includes schools for military families, Puerto Rico

"President Donald Trump is building his wall, and Puerto Rico is going to pay for it," NBC News reports. On Wednesday, the Pentagon announced that it is diverting $3.6 billion appropriated for 127 Defense Department projects to build 175 miles of new and replacement border fencing; $400 million of that comes from 10 projects in Puerto Rico, including a power substation and a National Guard readiness center. Also defunded, Reuters notes, are schools and daycare centers for military families from Kentucky to Maryland and Germany to Japan.

Trump declared a national emergency in February to circumvent Congress, which declined to fund his wall, and the Pentagon released its preliminary list of defunded projects in March. A Pentagon spokeswoman said Defense Secretary Mark Esper, who signed off on the diverted funds, was following a "lawful order" from Trump. She said the Pentagon hopes Congress will fund the defunded projects but acknowledged there's no guarantee it will.

The first tranche of $1.8 billion in redirected funds will come from U.S. bases overseas, with Germany losing $550 million and Japan taking a $450 million hit. The $1.8 billion being siphoned from 23 states includes $160 million from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in New York and $125 million from military bases in New Mexico. Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) said the facilities previously slated to be replaced have "equipment being held together with duct tape" or "recently caught on fire," and "stealing funding from these essential military construction projects to pay for the president's political pet project is an unconscionable attack on military readiness and the health and safety of our men and women in uniform."

Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), the top Republican on the House Armed Services Committee, lauded Trump for taking action to address the "very real crisis at the southern border" and urged Congress to re-fund the defunded projects.