Pentagon diverts $3.6 billion in military construction funds to build Trump's border wall

MSN | 4/7/2018 | By Zachary Cohen and Ryan Browne, CNN
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Secretary of Defense Mark Esper has authorized the diverting of $3.6 billion in military construction funds for 11 wall projects on the southern border with Mexico, according to defense officials and a letter from Esper to the Senate Armed Services Committee, which has been obtained by CNN.

In his letter, Esper told Congress he has "determined that 11 military construction projects along the international border with Mexico, with an estimated total cost of $3.6 billion, are necessary to support the use of the armed forces in connection with the national emergency."

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The announcement fulfills a promise made by President Donald Trump in February to tap military construction funds to build his border wall. The move was slammed by Congress when it was first announced and only recently completed a Pentagon legal review.

On Tuesday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called the decision "a slap in the face" to service members.

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"This decision will harm already planned, important projects intended to support our service members at military installations in New York, across the United States, and around the world," Schumer wrote in a statement. "It is a slap in the face to the members of the Armed Forces who serve our country that President Trump is willing to cannibalize already allocated military funding to boost his own ego and for a wall he promised Mexico would pay to build."

Sen. Jack Reed, the top Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee, also condemned the move.

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"President Trump's immigration efforts have failed since day one. Today, he made it clear he is willing to take funds from our troops and disaster...
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