President Trump to divert billions from Pentagon to build border wall

WASHINGTON — The White House confirmed President Trump is looking to divert additional money to the construction of the border wall.

President Trump has said, “Mexico is paying for the wall. You know that, you’ll see that.”

But The Washington Post reports the president instead plans to take $7.2 billion from military construction and counter-narcotics programs and use it to build the border wall.

Some lawmakers are concerned the move will be counter-productive.

“Do you think taking $3.5 billion from the military counter-drug program is a problem, would be a problem?” asked Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-NY).

“We need a border wall. I can tell you that,” said Chief Brian Hastings of U.S. Border Patrol.

Administration officials, including Defense Secretary Mark Esper, expressed support.

“The first priority of the DOD is protection of the homeland so the southwest border is a security issue,” said Esper.

Last year, President Trump shifted billions of dollars from the military to the border. And last month, a federal district court judge ruled that was a violation of the law.

But construction continues while that ruling is appealed.

“I’m concerned he’s stealing from our military families and those who are on the front lines,” said Rep. Nanette Barragan (D-CA).

Democratic lawmakers like Barragan and Rep. Mike Levin (D-CA) emphasize only Congress can decide how money is spent.

“I want to make sure that money goes to where it’s supposed to go,” Levin said.

The Office of Management and Budget confirmed the president is exploring ways to move money to the southern border but said the specifics have not been ironed out.