To pay for his signature project – the border wall – President Trump dipped into money earmarked for the military. Today, the Department of Defense announced they are cancelling all construction contracts that rely on those funds. More than fourteen billion dollars will be returned to the Pentagon.
President Biden has long hinted that such an action was coming. On day one of his presidency, he ordered a pause on border wall construction. Now, the DOD has dealt the unpopular project another blow. From a statement by Jamal Brown, deputy pentagon spokesman:
“Consistent with the President’s proclamation, the Department of Defense is proceeding with canceling all border barrier construction projects paid for with funds originally intended for other military missions and functions such as schools for military children, overseas military construction projects in partner nations, and the National Guard and Reserve equipment account.”
Brown added that the released funds will go to other construction projects within the military’s purview. Some of the money will be spent repairing environmental damage from the construction of the wall.
The White House released a statement contextualizing the announcement:
“Border wall construction under the previous administration tied up more than $14 billion in taxpayer funds, shortchanged our military, and diverted attention away from genuine security challenges, like human traffickers. Rushed and haphazard wall construction also resulted in serious life, safety, and environmental issues.”
Politico offers a reminder of how military money was diverted toward one of Trump’s top priorities:
Trump’s emergency declaration, which he signed in early 2019 and Biden ended in February, was an end-run around Congress after repeatedly failing to secure the funding his administration wanted to build an imposing wall along the border. As a result, Trump diverted billions from the Pentagon and Treasury Department to be repurposed for border barrier projects.