Wednesday 18 September 2019

Pentagon says it ran out of money to build a 20-mile stretch of border wall

The Pentagon revealed in court filings that it does not have the funds to build a 20-mile section of the border wall between the United States and Mexico.

What's the background?

President Donald Trump has promised to oversee the construction of a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico since the early days of his campaign. However, despite repeatedly saying that Mexico would pay for the wall, convincing Congress to approve enough U.S. taxpayer money to build the wall has proved to be difficult.
In March, following the longest government shutdown in U.S. history, the Pentagon announced that it would be reallocating $1 billion from existing projects in order to fund the wall. After legal challenges, the Supreme Court ruled in July in a 5-4 decision that Trump had the authority to move funds already granted to the Pentagon for other projects.
The section of the border wall in question had been approved less than a month ago. When the cost of an already-approved 135 miles of border wall looked like it would be cheaper than originally anticipated, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper signed off on the construction of an additional 20 miles in late August.
While parts of this wall will be constructed on federal land, Trump has also faced criticism from some Americans who live along the border and are resistant to having their land seized by the government through eminent domain for the construction of the wall.

What happened now?

"Based on its work in definitizing the contracts for the original Section 284 projects, [the Army Corps] has determined that there are insufficient contract savings to undertake the three additional Section 284 projects authorized by the Secretary of Defense on August 26, 2019," the Department of Defense said in a court filing, reporting by CNN. "Therefore, the Department of Defense has decided not to pursue Yuma Sector Projects 4 and 5, and Tucson Sector Project 4 at this time."
The Pentagon revealed that it would not be pursuing these additional projects, due to the lack of funds.

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