Speed Reads

the wall

Department of Defense diverting $3.83 billion from budget to build border barriers

The Defense Department notified Congress Thursday that it is diverting $3.83 billion from one part of its budget in order to construct 177 more miles of President Trump's southern border wall.

The $3.83 billion was going to be used to purchase two F-35 fighter jets and two Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft for the Marine Corps; one P-8A reconnaissance aircraft for the Navy; and eight MQ-9 Reaper drones and four C-130J transport planes for the Air Force, The Washington Post reports.

The Defense Department is using a counternarcotics law to move the money without congressional approval; under this law, the Pentagon can construct fencing for other federal, state, and local agencies in areas where there is known drug smuggling. The White House wants to take $7.2 billion from the Pentagon budget for the wall, which Trump promised to build during his 2016 presidential campaign, with Mexico paying the bill.

There was bipartisan criticism of the move. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) released a statement saying, "This latest effort to steal congressionally appropriated military funding undermines our national security and the separation of powers enshrined in our Constitution." Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) said the "re-programming announced today is contrary to Congress' constitutional authority, and I believe that it requires Congress to take action."