Acting U.S. Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan bowing to the reality that there is a crisis at our southern border, just approved moving $1.5 billion from unused Pentagon funds to build President Trump’s border wall.
Shanahan has approved money to build more than 80 miles (130 km) of barriers on the border with Mexico, U.S. officials said on Friday, including taking about $600 million from an account meant for Afghanistan security forces.
This move was opposed by congressional Democrats, who also criticized transfer of $1 billion in military money to fund Republican President Trump’s wall back in March.
“The funds were drawn from a variety of sources, including cost savings, programmatic changes and revised requirements, and therefore will have minimal impact on force readiness,” Patrick Shanahan said in a statement.
Defense Secretary Shanahan said that the U.S. military had more than 4,000 service members, along with 19 aircraft on the border.
All 10 Democrats on Senate appropriations subcommittees that handle defense, veterans affairs and related spending, wrote to Patrick Shanahan to oppose the decision. “We are dismayed that the Department has chosen to prioritize a political campaign promise over the disaster relief needs of our service members,” they said.
Lawmakers have hinted they may respond by putting new restrictions on the Pentagon’s authority to move money around, as it has done in the past to deal with natural disasters.