The Pentagon on Monday authorised $1 billion to build a part of the wall along the US-Mexico border, reported CNN. The Department of Homeland Security had asked the Pentagon to build 92 kilometers of 18-foot fencing, construct and improve roads and install lights along the stretch.
Acting Pentagon chief Patrick Shanahan “authorised the commander of the US Army Corps of Engineers to begin planning and executing up to $1 billion in support to the Department of Homeland Security and Customs and Border Patrol”, a Pentagon statement read, according to AFP.
Democratic senators on the Senate Appropriations Committee’s subcommittees on Defense and Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies signed a letter to Shanahan in which they said the Pentagon did not seek permission before notifying the committee of the transfer.
“We strongly object to both the substance of the funding transfer, and to the Department implementing the transfer without seeking the approval of the congressional defense committees and in violation of provisions in the defense appropriation itself,” the senators wrote, according to CNN. “As a result, we have serious concerns that the Department has allowed political interference and pet projects to come ahead of many near-term, critical readiness issues facing our military.”
In February, Trump had declared a national emergency to get funds for the wall after the Congress refused to grant the money he wanted. Trump had sought $5.7 billion for the wall. He believes the wall will help curb crime and drug trade in the US.
The wall was one of the main promises of the Trump election campaign in 2016. The disagreement between the two parties over funding the wall ended up in the longest government shutdown in December-January. The shutdown ended when Trump signed a deal on January 25 to give the Congress 21 days to come up with an agreement or face further blocking of funds.