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Large portion of money Trump wants to use for the wall has already been spent elsewhere


This could complicate things

Alex Edelman/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Billions of dollars President Donald Trump planned to reallocate toward building a wall on the southern border has already been spent, according to Roll Call.

Trump wants as much as $6.7 billion taken from other programs in order to pay for the wall, which includes $2.5 billion in Pentagon counterdrug money.

Problem is, most of that counterdrug money has been spent already. All but $85 million of it, according to a House Appropriations spokesman.

So, the Pentagon will have to get approval from Congress to take more than $2 billion from somewhere else, then put it into the counterdrug fund, then have it repurposed for the border wall.

"The Department would need to reprogram additional funding into the account to reach the up to $2.5 billion that may be required for border security support," Department of Defense spokesman Christopher Sherwood said, according to Roll Call.

That presents a potentially significant obstacle to this funding plan, as Democrats on the appropriating panels overseeing the Pentagon would have to get on board with this, along with Republicans. That's extremely unlikely, if this comment by Rep. Peter Visclosky is any indication.

"I am adamantly opposed to the use of any funds provided by Congress to the Department of Defense for the unauthorized construction of a wall on the Southwest border," said Visclosky, the chairman of the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee.

Trump does have other options, including potentially redirecting more money that was previously allocated for military construction projects.

The funding allocation issue is just one of several major obstacles to Trump using a national emergency declaration to fund wall construction. House Democrats are introducing a resolution to block the emergency declaration, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Senate Democrats will do the same.

Even then, however, Trump still has significant power. If the resolution passes (it only needs a simple majority in both chambers), Trump could veto it.

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