- The Washington Times - Monday, March 18, 2019

The Pentagon has a list of $6.8 billion worth of construction projects it could choose to take money from in order to build President Trump’s border wall, according to a list belatedly provided to Congress on Monday.

But officials have yet to even decide how much Defense Department money they’ll use toward the wall, and so they haven’t decided which projects on the target list would actually be affected.

The Pentagon also said Congress can make sure none of the projects suffer by passing an increase in military construction money for 2020, allowing the government to go back and replenish the accounts Mr. Trump wants to drain for his border wall.

Still, the list gave Democrats on Capitol Hill targets to fire at.

“We know President Trump wants to take money from our national security accounts to pay for his wall, and now we have a list of some of the projects and needed base repairs that could be derailed or put on the chopping block as a result,” said Sen. Jack Reed, the top Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee.



Of the money at risk, about $1 billion is from Army accounts, $2.3 billion is Navy, the Air Force accounts for $1.5 billion and another $1.5 billion is from departmentwide funds.

Projects are spread across the U.S. and even across the globe, with bases from Bulgaria to Guantanamo Bay on the list.

Mr. Trump last month signed a spending bill that includes $1.375 billion in border wall money approved by Congress. He then issued a declaration calling the border situation an emergency, triggering powers under the National Emergencies Act to shift money around.

He directed the Treasury Department to shift $601 million from a forfeiture fund to wall-building, then ordered the Pentagon to tap as much as $2.5 billion in drug interdiction money and up to $3.6 billion in military construction money.

The emergency declaration applies to the construction money.

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, New Hampshire Democrat, was upset to see two projects at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard on the list.

“These projects are vitally important to the Shipyard’s mission, to jobs in the region, and, in the case of one of these projects, has been planned for years,” she said in a statement.

Democrats will likely use the list to put Republicans on the spot in the run-up to a vote in Congress next week, when lawmakers will get a chance to overturn Mr. Trump’s veto of a bill that would have halted his emergency declaration.

“The projects that could lose funding include military training centers in Virginia, a plant to prevent water contamination at Camp Lejeune, and a cybersecurity facility in Georgia,” said Sen. Tim Kaine, Virginia Democrat. “I hope my colleagues in Congress will take a serious look at the projects that support our military in their own states and then vote to override the president’s veto.”

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