Congress didn't give Trump the money he wants for his border wall, so now he reportedly wants the military to build it

  • Congress apportioned much less money for President Donald Trump's border wall than he desires.
  • In response, Trump is now reportedly looking to the Pentagon to pay for the wall.
  • Such a move requires legislative approval that is not likely to be forthcoming.

Stymied by the lack of funding for his promised US-Mexico border wall in the latest spending bill, President Donald Trump now wants the military to pay for the barrier, according to The Washington Post.

The $1.3 trillion spending bill, which Trump ruefully signed last week, only included $1.6 billion for fencing and levees on the border and just $641 million for new primary fencing in areas that do not currently have barriers. The bill also limits that money to "operationally effective designs" that were already in the field by May 2017.

That amount is well short of the $25 billion in long-term funding Trump was pursuing in negotiations with Democrats (offering three years of protections for young immigrants in the country under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program), and that stipulation means the prototype walls Trump has reviewed cannot be used.

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President Trump visits border wall prototypes amid protests
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President Trump visits border wall prototypes amid protests
US President Donald Trump is shown border wall prototypes in San Diego, California on March 13, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
People hold signs during a protest while standing in front of the current border fence and near the prototypes of U.S. President Donald Trump's border wall, in Tijuana, Mexico March 13, 2018. The sign on the right reads "Trump, walls can be jumped over". REUTERS/Edgard Garrido
US President Donald Trump inspects border wall prototypes in San Diego, California on March 13, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
People attach a sign reading "Trump, stop the mass deportations" to the current border fence and near the prototypes of U.S. President Donald Trump's border wall, during a protest in Tijuana, Mexico March 13, 2018. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido
US President Donald Trump's motorcade arrives at the border fence in San Diego, California on March 13, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
People hold signs reading "No to the wall" and "Trump, put your wall, but in your territory, not in ours", during a protest near the prototypes of U.S. President Donald Trump's border wall, seen behind the current border fence, in Tijuana, Mexico March 13, 2018. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido
US President Donald Trump is shown border wall prototypes with White House Chief of Staff John Kelly (L) in San Diego, California on March 13, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
A man holds a sign reading "Trump, put your wall, but in your territory, not in ours", during a protest near the prototypes of U.S. President Donald Trump's border wall, seen behind the current border fence, in Tijuana, Mexico March 13, 2018. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido
US President Donald Trump arrives to inspect border wall prototypes in San Diego, California on March 13, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
People hold signs reading "No to the wall, Trump," and "Trump, we are not enemies of the USA" during a protest near the prototypes of U.S. President Donald Trump's border wall, seen behind the current border fence, in Tijuana, Mexico March 13, 2018. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido
US President Donald Trump speaks during an inspection of border wall prototypes in San Diego, California on March 13, 2018. Donald Trump -- making his first trip to California as president -- warned there would be 'bedlam' without the controversial wall he wants to build on the border with Mexico, as he inspected several prototype barriers. The trip to the 'Golden State' -- the most populous in the country and a Democratic stronghold -- was largely upstaged by his own announcement that he had sacked Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. / AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Mexican Federal Police officers stand guard the Mexican side of the Mexico-US border in Tijuana, Baja California state, from where prototypes of the border wall, which US President Donald Trump will inspect on the outskirts of San Diego, in the US, are visible on March 13, 2018. Fresh off a cabinet reshuffle, President Donald Trump was headed for Democratic stronghold California on Tuesday to inspect prototypes of the controversial border wall with Mexico that was the centerpiece of his White House campaign. / AFP PHOTO / GUILLERMO ARIAS (Photo credit should read GUILLERMO ARIAS/AFP/Getty Images)
People hold signs reading "Trump, we will not pay for the wall" and "Trump, stop the mass deportations" near the border fence between Mexico and the U.S., in Tijuana, Mexico March 13, 2018. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido
Journalists gather at a rooftop near the US -Mexico border as President Trump is expected to inspect the border wall prototypes built outskirts San Diego, in Tijuana, Baja California State, Mexico, on March 13, 2018. Fresh off a cabinet reshuffle, President Donald Trump was headed for Democratic stronghold California on Tuesday to inspect prototypes of the controversial border wall with Mexico that was the centerpiece of his White House campaign. / AFP PHOTO / GUILLERMO ARIAS (Photo credit should read GUILLERMO ARIAS/AFP/Getty Images)
U.S. police officers use a ladder to climb up a truck parked in front of the prototypes of U.S. President Donald Trump's border wall, on the U.S. side of the current border fence, in Tijuana, Mexico March 13, 2018. REUTERS/Jorge Duenes
An agent faces Mexico while standing by the vehicle of U.S. President Donald Trump at the border near San Diego, California, where Trump reviewed wall prototypes designed to serve as a protective barrier against illegal immigrants, drugs and smuggled weapons, March 13, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
A U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Border Patrol Agent sits on horseback near U.S. President Donald Trump's motorcade during a tour of U.S.-Mexico border wall prototypes near the Otay Mesa Port of Entry in San Diego, California. U.S., March 13, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
TIJUANA, MEXICO - MARCH 13:Anti-Trump protestors demonstrate on the Mexico side of the border before the arrival of the U.S. President to inspect the prototypes of the proposed border wall on March 13, 2018 in Tijuana, Mexico. (Photo by Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
The motorcade carrying US President Donald Trump drives past a US-Mexico border fence as Trump head for an inspection of border wall prototypes in San Diego, California on March 13, 2018. Donald Trump -- making his first trip to California as president -- warned there would be 'bedlam' without the controversial wall he wants to build on the border with Mexico, as he inspected several prototype barriers. The trip to the 'Golden State' -- the most populous in the country and a Democratic stronghold -- was largely upstaged by his own announcement that he had sacked Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. / AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Mounted Border Patrol agents are seen as US President Donald Trump inspects border wall prototypes in San Diego, California on March 13, 2018. Donald Trump -- making his first trip to California as president -- warned there would be 'bedlam' without the controversial wall he wants to build on the border with Mexico, as he inspected several prototype barriers. The trip to the 'Golden State' -- the most populous in the country and a Democratic stronghold -- was largely upstaged by his own announcement that he had sacked Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. / AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump inspects border wall prototypes in San Diego, California on March 13, 2018. Donald Trump -- making his first trip to California as president -- warned there would be 'bedlam' without the controversial wall he wants to build on the border with Mexico, as he inspected several prototype barriers. The trip to the 'Golden State' -- the most populous in the country and a Democratic stronghold -- was largely upstaged by his own announcement that he had sacked Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. / AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump holds up a poster of before and after photos of a segment of the border wall prototypes with Chief Patrol Agent Rodney S. Scott (R) in San Diego, California on March 13, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
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Trump — upset about potential disappointment among his supporters and invoking "national security" — is now reportedly eyeing the $700 billion allotted for the Pentagon, a sum he touted as "historic," to provide funding for the wall.

Two advisers told The Post that Trump's comment in a recent tweet, "Build WALL through M!" referred to the military.

After broaching the idea to advisers, Trump told House Speaker Paul Ryan that military should provide funding, three people familiar with the meeting told The Post. Ryan reportedly offered little response.

Senior officials in Congress told The Post such a move was unlikely, and a senior official at the Pentagon said redirecting money from the 2018 budget would have to be done by lawmakers. Setting aside money in the 2019 budget would require Trump to offer a budget amendment — which would still need 60 votes to pass the Senate.

Trump has also suggested to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis that the Pentagon pay for the wall rather than the Homeland Security Department.

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Trump supporters and border activists in California
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Trump supporters and border activists in California
U.S. President Donald Trump's supporters, like Merilyn Cashman of Dana Point, CA, rally near the US-Mexico border for the presidential visit to California to view border wall prototypes in San Diego, California, U.S., March 13, 2018. REUTERS/John Gastaldo
SAN DIEGO, CA - MARCH 13: A man wears a shirt mocking CNN as supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump rally for the President during his visit to see the controversial border wall prototypes on March 13, 2018 in San Diego, California. The border visit is part of the first visit to California by the President Trump since taking office despite criticism for not visiting the state after the record firestorms and a deadly debris flow in 2017. It also comes as a clash between the administration and state officials heats up with lawsuits on both sides concerning several issues, including immigrant protection and the possible deportation of Dreamers. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
Trump supporters gather as U.S. President Donald Trump's motorcade drives past following his viewing of border wall prototypes in San Diego, California, U.S., March 13, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Blake
U.S. President Trump's supporter Cherie Wood of Chino Hills, CA looks skyward with binoculars trying to spot the president?s aircraft as Trump arrived close to her location during his visit to view border wall prototypes in San Diego, California, U.S., March 13, 2018. REUTERS/John Gastaldo
SAN DIEGO, CA - MARCH 13: Supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump sing the National Anthem as they rally for the president during his visit to see the controversial border wall prototypes on March 13, 2018 in San Diego, California. The border visit is part of the first visit to California by the President since taking office despite criticism for not visiting the state after the record firestorms and a deadly debris flow in 2017. It also comes as a clash between the administration and state officials heats up with lawsuits on both sides concerning several issues, including immigrant protection and the possible deportation of Dreamers. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
U.S. President Donald Trump's supporters rally near the US-Mexico border for the presidential visit to California to view border wall prototypes in San Diego, California, U.S., March 13, 2018. REUTERS/John Gastaldo
SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 13: Supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump rally for the president during his visit to see the controversial border wall prototypes on March 13, 2018 in San Diego, California. The border visit is part of the first visit to California by President Trump since taking office despite criticism for not visiting the state after the record firestorms and a deadly debris flow in 2017. It also comes as a clash between the administration and state officials heats up with lawsuits on both sides concerning several issues, including immigrant protection and the possible deportation of Dreamers. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
U.S. President Donald Trump's supporters wave to the presidential motorcade as it heads to Brown Field during the Trump's visit to California to view border wall prototypes in San Diego, California, U.S., March 13, 2018. REUTERS/John Gastaldo
Trump supporters hug after U.S. President Donald Trump's motorcade drove past them following his viewing of border wall prototypes in San Diego, California, U.S., March 13, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Activists and supporters gather await the arrival of U.S. President Donald Trump to during his visit to view border wall prototypes in San Diego, California, U.S., March 13, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Trump supporters wear stars and stripes suits during a pro-Trump rally attended by about 500 people in San Diego, California, March 13, 2017, where President Trump was visiting the nearby border wall protoypes. / AFP PHOTO / Bill Wechter (Photo credit should read BILL WECHTER/AFP/Getty Images)
A large police presence watches over protesters and supporters during the visit of U.S. President Donald Trump to view border wall prototypes in San Diego, California, U.S., March 13, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Blake
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 13: Trump supporters John and Diana Turano, from La Puente, wait across the street from the Intercontinental Hotel where President Trump will spend the night in downtown Los Angeles on March 13, 2018. The Turano's waited in the rain hoping to get a glimpse of the President when he arrives. (Photo by Genaro Molina/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
Trump supporter Cherie Wood displays a pro-Trump sign during a pro-Trump rally attended by about 500 people in San Diego, California, March 13, 2017, where President Trump was visiting the nearby border wall protoypes. / AFP PHOTO / Bill Wechter (Photo credit should read BILL WECHTER/AFP/Getty Images)
Supporter Humbert Cabrera displays a pro-Trump sign during a pro-Trump rally attended by about 500 people in San Diego, California, March 13, 2017, where President Trump was visiting the nearby border wall protoypes. / AFP PHOTO / Bill Wechter (Photo credit should read BILL WECHTER/AFP/Getty Images)
Trump supporters sing the National Anthem and display pro-Trump signs during a pro-Trump rally attended by about 500 people in San Diego, California, March 13, 2017, where President Trump was visiting the nearby border wall protoypes. / AFP PHOTO / Bill Wechter (Photo credit should read BILL WECHTER/AFP/Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 13: Supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump rally for the president during his visit to see the controversial border wall prototypes on March 13, 2018 in San Diego, California. The border visit is part of the first visit to California by President Trump since taking office despite criticism for not visiting the state after the record firestorms and a deadly debris flow in 2017. It also comes as a clash between the administration and state officials heats up with lawsuits on both sides concerning several issues, including immigrant protection and the possible deportation of Dreamers. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 13: Supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump rally for the president during his visit to see the controversial border wall prototypes on March 13, 2018 in San Diego, California. The border visit is part of the first visit to California by President Trump since taking office despite criticism for not visiting the state after the record firestorms and a deadly debris flow in 2017. It also comes as a clash between the administration and state officials heats up with lawsuits on both sides concerning several issues, including immigrant protection and the possible deportation of Dreamers. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 13: Supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump rally for the president during his visit to see the controversial border wall prototypes on March 13, 2018 in San Diego, California. The border visit is part of the first visit to California by President Trump since taking office despite criticism for not visiting the state after the record firestorms and a deadly debris flow in 2017. It also comes as a clash between the administration and state officials heats up with lawsuits on both sides concerning several issues, including immigrant protection and the possible deportation of Dreamers. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 13: Supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump rally for the president during his visit to see the controversial border wall prototypes on March 13, 2018 in San Diego, California. The border visit is part of the first visit to California by President Trump since taking office despite criticism for not visiting the state after the record firestorms and a deadly debris flow in 2017. It also comes as a clash between the administration and state officials heats up with lawsuits on both sides concerning several issues, including immigrant protection and the possible deportation of Dreamers. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO, CA - MARCH 13: Supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump sing the National Anthem as they rally for the President during his visit to see the controversial border wall prototypes on March 13, 2018 in San Diego, California. The border visit is part of the first visit to California by President Trump since taking office despite criticism for not visiting the state after the record firestorms and a deadly debris flow in 2017. It also comes as a clash between the administration and state officials heats up with lawsuits on both sides concerning several issues, including immigrant protection and the possible deportation of Dreamers. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
Trump supporters display pro-Trump signs during a pro-Trump rally attended by about 500 people in San Diego, California, March 13, 2017, where President Trump was visiting the nearby border wall protoypes. / AFP PHOTO / Bill Wechter (Photo credit should read BILL WECHTER/AFP/Getty Images)
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Mattis has sought to distance himself from contentious issues, chief among them the border wall, that have wounded US relations with its southern neighbor.

During a September trip to Mexico, Mattis emphasized that US-Mexican military ties were strong and that the two countries shared common concerns.

"We have shared security concerns. There's partnerships, military-to-military exchanges, that are based on trust and respect. I'm going down to build the trust and show the respect on their Independence Day," Mattis said at the time. "Every nation has its challenges it deals with. And Mexico is keenly aware of these, and I'm there to support them in dealing with them."

When asked about his role in the border-wall issue, Mattis said the US military had no role in enforcing the border.

NOW WATCH: One of these prototypes could become Trump's border wall

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