Pentagon Cancels Border Wall Projects, Will Recover Funding Diverted by Trump

Construction crews erect levee wall system U.S. Border Patrol's Rio Grande Valley Sector.
Construction crews work to erect a levee wall system in a remote area south of Weslaco, Texas in the U.S. Border Patrol’s Rio Grande Valley Sector, Jan. 13, 2019. (U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office of Public Affairs/Glenn Fawcett)

The Defense Department is canceling all border wall construction projects that the Trump administration started building with billions of dollars diverted from military missions, and the unobligated money is being returned to the Pentagon.

Pentagon spokesman Jamal Brown said in a release Friday that the border wall construction projects being canceled were those paid for by money that was supposed to have gone to missions or functions such as schools for military children, overseas military construction projects in partner nations, and equipment for the National Guard and Reserves.

"DoD has begun taking all necessary actions to cancel border barrier projects and to coordinate with interagency partners," Brown said. "Today's action reflects this administration's continued commitment to defending our nation and supporting our service members and their families."

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Unobligated military construction funds freed up by the cancellations will now be used for "previously deferred military construction projects," the release states. The Pentagon is looking over the list of deferred projects to figure out which should be funded first.

The Pentagon will work with interagency partners about any steps that need to be taken at construction sites affected by the cancellations, the release adds.

According to an ABC News report, a Biden administration official said that $17 billion in funds diverted by the Trump administration would be returned to the Pentagon.

According to The Washington Post, then-President Trump redirected $2.5 billion from military counterdrug programs and $3.6 billion from military construction funding to border wall construction in 2019. The Post reported in January 2020 that Trump was planning to divert another $7.2 billion in Pentagon money to build more stretches of the border wall that year. That included $3.5 billion that would have gone to military counterdrug programs and $3.7 billion in military construction funding.

-- Stephen Losey can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @StephenLosey.

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