The Pentagon announces a $ 1 billion transfer to create border barriers, anger against Democrats

Flags fly outside the United States Customs and Border Protection building in El Paso. (Sarah L. Voisin / The Washington Post)

The Pentagon announced Monday night that it had authorized the transfer of $ 1 billion to the Army Corps of Engineers for the construction of additional gates along the US-Mexico border, an initiative that aroused strong objections from Democratic legislators.

The transfer of funds, which the Pentagon justified by the declaration of the Trump National Emergency Government on the southern border, will facilitate the construction of 57 km of "pedestrian fences", roads and fires on sections of the border between Arizona and Texas.

Ten senators, including Patrick J. Leahy (Vt.), The largest Democrat on the Credit Committee, opposed it, saying in a letter that the Pentagon had not sought the approval of the defense committees of the Congress.

"As a result, we are seriously concerned that the department has allowed political interference and exciting plans before many of the critical short-term responsiveness issues facing our military," the letter to the Secretary of Defense stated. interim Patrick M. Shanahan and the secretary. of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen. "The $ 1 billion reprogramming that the department is implementing without Congressional approval is a theft for one dollar of the other needs of our armed forces."

Although the clash highlighted the persistent tensions between the Trump administration and congressional Democrats, this decision was in line with what the administration had pledged to do to keep the promise made by Trump to put in place a boundary wall.

Earlier this month, Trump vetoed a move passed by both the House and the Senate to reverse his national emergency declaration at the border. Trump uses this measure to spend more than expected by the Congress on the financing of border barriers.

The Democrats-led House is scheduled to vote Tuesday to override Trump's veto, but the effort should be well under. In the original vote, only 13 Republicans took the party of the Democrats to reprimand Trump.

The $ 1 billion spending announced Monday night would help "block drug smuggling corridors across the international borders of the United States to support the anti-narcotics activities of the federal security forces," the statement said. Pentagon.

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