The Trump administration announced that it is reallocating $3.8 billion in weapons programs to support construction of the U.S.-Mexico border wall, upsetting lawmakers who argue the White House is sidestepping their authority.
In a notice delivered to Congress on Thursday, the Pentagon announced it is shifting $2.2 billion from its base fiscal 2020 budget and $1.6 billion from the Overseas Contingency Operations war fund. The funds will be transferred to the Department of Defense’s counter-drug fund, which will then be applied to border wall construction.
The Department of Homeland Security “has identified areas along the southern border of the United States that are being used by individuals, groups, and transnational criminal organizations as drug smuggling corridors, and determined that the construction of additional physical barriers and roads in the vicinity of the United States border is necessary in order to impede and deny drug smuggling activities,” read the notice to Congress, according to The Hill.
This is not the first time the administration has chosen to use executive authority to shift federal funds to the wall, largely due to Democratic lawmakers opposition to immigration enforcement funding.