Trump administration taking $3.8 billion more from military for Mexico border wall

WASHINGTON, Feb 13 (Reuters) - 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 F-35 fighter jet program, Lockheed C-130 aircraft, Boeing Co P-8 Poseidon aircraft, Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey helicopters and shipbuilding.

19 PHOTOS
Trump rally in Milwaukee
See Gallery
Trump rally in Milwaukee
President Donald Trump points to the crowd after speaking during a campaign rally at UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena, Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)
President Donald Trump applauds after speaking during a campaign rally at UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena, Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)
President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena, Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)
President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)
President Donald Trump arrives for a campaign rally Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)
Supports cheer President Donald Trump during a campaign rally Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)
Supports cheer before a campaign rally for President Donald Trump Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)
President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps)
President Donald Trump points to the crowd after speaking during a campaign rally at UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena, Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)
President Donald Trump arrives at UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena to speak at a campaign rally, Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)
Supporters of President Donald Trump cheer as he arrives for a campaign rally at UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena, Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)
President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena, Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)
President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena, Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)
Supporters of President Donald Trump cheer as he arrives for a campaign rally at UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena, Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN, USA - JANUARY 14 : U.S. President Donald Trump makes a speech at Keep America Great Rally in Milwaukee, WI, United States on January 14, 2020. (Photo by Kyle Mazza/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN, USA - JANUARY 14 : U.S. President Donald Trump arrives to delivering a speech at Keep America Great Rally in Milwaukee, WI, United States on January 14, 2020. (Photo by Kyle Mazza/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN, USA - JANUARY 14 : U.S. President Donald Trump arrives to delivering a speech at Keep America Great Rally in Milwaukee, WI, United States on January 14, 2020. (Photo by Kyle Mazza/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WI - JANUARY 14: U.S. Vice President Mike Pence gives the thumbs up as he speaks at a rally held by U.S President Donald Trump on January 14, 2020 at UWMilwaukee Panther Arena in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Trump, who is the third president to face impeached, now faces an impending trial in the Senate. (Photo by Joshua Lott/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WI - JANUARY 14: Attendees cheer as U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at a rally on January 14, 2020 at UWMilwaukee Panther Arena in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Trump, who is the third president to face impeached, now faces an impending trial in the Senate. (Photo by Joshua Lott/Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

Congressional Democrats, who opposed Trump's past diversion of billions of dollars in military spending to the border wall project, said the decision was dangerous and misguided.

"President Trump is once again disrespecting the separation of powers and endangering our security by raiding military resources to pay for his wasteful border wall," Democratic Representatives Nita Lowey, chairwoman of the House of Representatives Appropriations Committee, and Pete Visclosky, chairman of the Defense Appropriations subcommittee, said in a statement.

"The Constitution gives Congress, not the President, the power of the purse. Congress rejected President Trump’s full request for wall funding, which is why he is now orchestrating this backdoor mechanism to prop up a political vanity project," they said.

The Trump administration has vowed to build at least 400 miles (640 km) of wall along the border by November 2020, when Americans will vote for president. In his 2016 campaign, Trump said Mexico would pay for the wall. The Mexican government has consistently refused to do so.

Trump's hard-line immigration policies, particularly for immigrants who come across the southern border with Mexico, have been a signature of his political campaign and first term in the White House.

The Trump administration has built nearly 100 miles (160 km) of border wall, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection statistics current to late December. All of those barriers replaced existing structures, the agency said. (Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; editing by Jonathan Oatis) 

Read Full Story