Biden administration reallocates $2.2 billion in Trump border wall funds to military projects
WASHINGTON – The Biden administration said Friday it will divert $2.2 billion previously allocated for former President Donald Trump’s border wall to military projects.
The Department of Defense said that the funding would go towards 66 projects in 11 States, 3 territories, and 16 countries.
Some of the projects include:
- $10 million for the Missile Field Expansion at Fort Greely in Alaska, which is part of America’s defense against North Korean ballistic missiles. It was due for an expansion to add two missile interceptors.
- More than $25 million for the 2nd Radio Battalion Complex in North Carolina. Congress provided funds for the new complex to co-locate two battalions, improve capabilities and efficiencies in training for combat readiness, and meet the growing threat of cyber warfare.
- $79 million for Spangdahlem Elementary School for U.S. Military Children in Germany, which currently supports over 600 military children and lacks proper air conditioning, plumbing, and security systems.
- More than $25 million for the Fire/Crash Rescue Station at Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida, which is designed to support up to 15 fire-fighting vehicles and provide space for physical fitness, training, and living quarters for military personnel.
- More than $9 million for a Small Arms Range in Indiana, which is needed to enhance readiness of the Air Guard unit through marksmanship training.
President Joe Biden signed an executive order on Inauguration Day to halt construction of the border wall, and ordered funding for it to be redistributed. Friday’s action is part of the executive order he signed in January.
Trump made building a border wall a top priority of his administration, and diverted funding from several departments, including the Department of Defense, to fund construction of the barrier.
Trump, in one of his last trips as president, went to the border, where he celebrated the completion of more than 400 miles of border wall being built. But the majority of the construction was on barriers that already existed. The Biden administration says only 52 miles of wall was built where no barrier previously existed. The Office of Management and Budget said Friday that some segments of the wall cost “American taxpayers up to $46 million per mile.”
The Department of Homeland Security said that the Trump administration had planned to spend over $15 billion on wall construction, and diverted over $10 billion of those funds from military projects and other sources.
The Biden administration also called on Congress to cancel border wall funds that remain at the end of the year so it can be used for other resources like “effective border management measures like enhanced technology between points of entry and improved infrastructure at Land Ports of Entry,” the OMB said.
Last year, Congress passed a bipartisan government funding package that included $1.4 billion for the border wall. The Department of Homeland Security is required by law to use funds, but the administration said it will “utilize all legal authorities to stop wall expansion.”
DHS also announced Friday it will prioritize using the remaining funds for clean-up of construction sites previously funded by the Department of Defense.
Earlier this year, the Biden administration said it was using some border wall funds to repair the flood barrier system in the Rio Grande Valley and to address erosion caused by wall construction in San Diego.
Contributing: Rafael Carranza, Arizona Republic
Reach Rebecca Morin at Twitter @RebeccaMorin_
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