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National News

Pentagon Cancels Plans for 3 Border Wall Projects Because of Expense

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Pentagon Cancels Plans for 3 Border Wall Projects Because of Expense

2019-09-17 15:56:421 Oct 2018 01:53 AM EST

By Laura Tucker, Staff writer; Image: Kevin McAleenan, Rodney Scott, and Chris Cuomo touring port of entry (Image source: Public domain)

 

This certainly won't be good news to Donald Trump. Three of his border projects in California and Arizona have been canceled by the Pentagon because the cost is more expensive than the estimate that had been given.

 

Authorization for the projects was announced late last month. The project of about 20 miles of fencing, lighting, and other border materials was authorized by the Defense Department. It approved redirecting $2.5 billion away from a counter-drug fund because of "lower-than-expected contract costs." 

The Defense Department revealed on Monday, however, that it would not be able to cover the costs of the three projects and that it was pulling them.

 

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers initially determined that it would be able to afford the projects by using counter-drug funds, yet they admitted they wouldn't know the exact amount until later in the fiscal year. 

"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," reads the Pentagon's court filing.

 

"Therefore, the Department of Defense has decided not to pursue Yuma Sector Projects 4 and 5, and Tucson Sector Project 4 at this time." 

Initially, Trump had indicated while campaigning in 2015 and 2016 that he would make Mexico pay for the wall separating it and the United States.

 

When that didn't pan out, he focused on getting the money from taxpayers. When Congress didn't approve, he declared a national emergency at the border and took the funds for his massive project. 

Much of this construction has been held up in court with many arguing legal challenges to Trump's plans, including a House lawsuit that argued it violated Congress's constitutional power of the purse. That lawsuit was dismissed.

 

The Supreme Court overturned decisions by lower courts of blocking $2.5 billion in Defense funds to replace border infrastructure in California, Arizona, and New Mexico. States and organizations are still challenging this in lower courts. 

Earlier this month Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper agreed to pull $3.6 billion from the Defense budget to give to Trump to fund the other portions of the wall. This move took funding away from 127 military construction projects.

 

He believed it was a necessary move to support American forces that are currently deployed to the border under Trump's emergency that he declared in February. 

That $3.6 billion will be used to fund 11 projects that will provide 175 miles of new or reconstructed wall along the border, and this will reduce the need for troops to be stationed there.

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