President Trump is set to make a strong move to deliver his core campaign promise.
He plans to divert 7.2 billion dollars from the Pentagon toward wall construction this year, according to Washington Post. [Trump planning to divert additional $7.2 billion in Pentagon funds for border wall, by Nick Miroff, The Washington Post, January 13, 2020]
Last year, the president appropriated over $6 billion from the Defense Department budget for the wall. According to the Post, Trump has allocated $18.4 billion total for the wall. This isn’t far off from the full funding—$25 billion—he asked for in 2018.
According to the plans, the funding would give the government enough money to complete about 885 miles of new fencing by spring 2022, far more than the 509 miles the administration has slated for the U.S. border with Mexico.
Trump appears eager to fulfill his promise of completing 450 miles of wall construction by election day. However, fulfillment of this promise may be held up in court. In December, a federal court ruled that Trump could not divert funds for national defense to national defense on the southern border, holding up $3.6 billion of the wall funding already allocated to construction.
The administration claims it has constructed 101 miles of new border barriers since Trump took office. However, at least 90 miles of the construction only replaced pre-existing barriers; very little of it covers new ground. [Trump administration may not hit 2020 border wall goal, official says, by Ted Hesson, Reuters, December 17, 2019] The new funding may dramatically change this situation.
Trump knows he can’t forget about the wall. He can’t show up empty-handed for re-election on his most famous campaign promise. It’s reassuring the president is doing as much as he can to satisfy that pledge before November.