Patricia Zengerle, Reuters, February 13, 2020
The U.S. Defense Department sent Congress a request to shift nearly $4 billion from the military budget to pay for a wall on the border with Mexico, a central promise of President Donald Trump’s campaign for the White House four years ago and bid this year for a second term.
Lawmakers said they received a request on Thursday to reprogram more than $3.8 billion from funding for the National Guard and weapons programs, setting the stage for a possible confrontation with Democrats.
Democratic aides said $1.5 billion would come from the National Guard, and the rest from funds for procurement, including the Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N) F-35 fighter jet program, Lockheed C-130 transport aircraft, Boeing Co (BA.N) P-8 Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft, Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft, and shipbuilding.
A senior Pentagon official said U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper had approved about $3.8 billion in funding being diverted to build 177 miles (290 km) of border wall.
Last month, the Pentagon received a request from within the Trump administration to build roughly 270 miles (435 km) of wall on the border, which would have cost about $5.5 billion.