President Donald Trump vetoed a congressional resolution that blocked the urgency of his border wall.
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Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan announced that the Pentagon would spend up to a billion dollars for the construction of fences of a length of 57 km.
Shanahan has authorized the army corps commander to plan and construct an 18-foot fence, to construct and upgrade roads and to install lighting in Yuma, Arizona, and in El Paso, Texas.
Shanahan said the efforts supported the national emergency declaration issued last month by President Donald Trump for the southern border. Trump issued the statement after Congress refused to appropriate the $ 5.7 billion that he wanted for the construction of the wall.
Shanahan spoke of the need to "block drug smuggling corridors across the international borders of the United States to support the counter-narcotics activities of federal law enforcement agencies".
A razor-sharp border wall separates the United States, left, from Mexico east of Nogales, Arizona on Saturday, March 2, 2019. (AP Photo / Charlie Riedel) ORG XMIT: OTKCR (Photo: Charlie Riedel, AP)
Shanahan announced the plan late Monday, a few hours before the start of the US House vote on Trump 's veto to a congressional resolution that would have canceled the emergency declaration. Foes of Trump's plan, however, did not seem to have the two-thirds majority required to override.
"The president's veto will be maintained," minority leader Kevin McCarthy said in California. "We will #SecureTheBorder."
Trump 's statement of urgency for the construction of the wall allows him to leverage billions of dollars destined for military construction projects ranging from garages to air traffic control towers. The projects have been approved by the Congress but the contracts have not yet been signed.
Last week, Shanahan sent Congress a list of construction projects that the Pentagon could delay but not cancel to redirect funds to the wall. An air traffic control tower in Alabama was one of these projects.
Contributor: Tom Vanden Brook
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