On Monday, the Pentagon provided Congress with a list of construction projects that could be delayed or stopped in order to reallocate funding to President Trump’s proposed southern border wall. The President declared a national emergency in order to redirect funding to the endeavor, before having that decision reversed via votes in the House and Senate. The president then vetoed their reversal, bringing the border wall construction back into play.
“Today I am vetoing this resolution,” the president told the media while standing alongside law enforcement officials. “Congress has the freedom to pass this resolution and I have the duty to veto it.”
The list provided includes hundreds of projects that have not yet had contracts awarded to begin construction. According to Lt. Col. Joe Buccino, a spokesman for the Pentagon, should acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan “determine that construction along the southwest border is necessary to aid the mission of military personnel supporting the Department of Homeland Security, some projects within this pool may be used to fund up to $3.6 billion in barrier construction.”
The list, Buccino added, does not include any military housing, barracks, or dormitory projects. This is of particular import as the Department of Defense (DOD) has been inundated with complaints about the poor quality and health risks associated with living in military housing as a result of contracting housing efforts out to private companies. While no initiative has yet taken shape to address these issues, cutting funds from military housing amidst the public outrage tied to housing issues would be politically unpopular.