In declaring a national emergency along the country's southern border, President Donald Trump gained access to some $8 billion in federal funds — money he reportedly plans to use to fund his border wall. But in drawing funds for the border wall from various programs, Trump may cause some projects to be canceled or delayed. While nothing's set in stone just yet, here's where the border wall money might come from.
According to The Hill, acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan told reporters Saturday that he'd begin reviewing an analysis put together by military planners to determine where funds might be shifted to help pay for Trump's border wall. The Trump administration has said it plans to draw some $3.6 billion from a Department of Defense military construction account and $2.5 billion from the military's drug interdiction program. However, it will be Shanahan who gets the final say on how much money will be diverted from specific programs within those spending areas.
"All of this money has been assigned for different purposes, so it comes down to: What are you going to trade off?" The Washington Post reported Shanahan told reporters Saturday. He then stressed that funding for some projects — such as military housing — wouldn't be put under consideration as the Pentagon wouldn't seek to skirt the law in an effort to free up funds for the border wall. "We are following the law, using the rules. We're not bending the rules."
Shanahan was careful to stress that no decisions had been made regarding the money as the Pentagon was well aware of how much scrutiny a national emergency declaration and any redirection of funds was likely to receive, The Hill has reported. "We always anticipated that this would create a lot of attention and since moneys potentially could be redirected, you can imagine the concern this generates," the news outlet reported Shanahan said. "Very deliberately, we have not made any decisions."
Rather, Shanahan said the Pentagon had merely "identified the steps we would take to make those decisions."
To pay for the wall, the Trump administration will take some $600 million from the Treasury Department's forfeiture funds account along with the $3.6 billion and $2.5 billion expected to be pulled from the Pentagon's military construction account and drug interdiction program, respectively, NBC News has reported. According to the Washington Post, the Treasury's forfeiture funds account is comprised of money the federal government seized from various illicit activities. Another $1.375 billion has been allocated by Congress for the construction of 55 miles of so-called pedestrian fencing in Texas.
But for as much money as his border wall might end up costing, the president has argued it's a money saving investment. In fact, in declaring a national emergency, President Trump appeared to suggest that a border wall would ultimately save the country money by eliminating the need for military presence along the border.
"One of the things we'd saved a tremendous, just a tremendous amount on, would be sending the military," Trump said. "Well—we don't need the military 'cause we would have a wall."