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Pentagon finds $12.8 billion it could use to fund President Trump's border wall


Democrats hope the list will convince Congress to override the president's recent veto

Jeffrey Markowitz/Sygma via Getty Images

The Department of Defense has provided a list of $12.8 billion worth of projects from which President Donald Trump could divert funding in order to pay for a wall on the United States' southern border.

Democrats pushed for the list to be released in hopes of rallying members of Congress to vote to override the president's veto of legislation blocking his national emergency declaration — but their strategy could backfire.

What are the details?

During a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing last week, Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.), the ranking member on the committee, pressed acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan to provide a list of projects that could be sacrificed in order to pay for a border wall under President Trump's declared national emergency.

Reed received the 20-page list Monday and subsequently released it on Twitter, warning that "military bases in your state could be negatively impacted."

"What President Trump is doing is a slap in the face to our military that makes our border and the country less secure," Reed said in a separate statement. "Now that members of Congress can see the potential impact this proposal could have on projects in their home states, I hope they will take that into consideration before the vote to override the President's veto."

A two-thirds majority of Congress is needed to override the president's veto, and the votes likely aren't there. So Reed is hoping lawmakers in states that could be affected will be swayed to vote against the threat of funds being diverted.

But that strategy could have the opposite effect, given the Pentagon's disclosure that the funds are, indeed, available for President Trump to build the wall he has long promised to supporters after Congress refused his request during budget negotiations.

What's on the list?

Projects in several states are at risk, including a $6.3 million cryogenics facility in South Carolina, a $13 million child development center in Maryland, and a $15 million human performance training center in Colorado.

Military spending in other countries could also be reallocated. The Pentagon said that, if needed, it could hold off on plans for a $27 million gym and dining facility in Guam, $66 million for a taxiway and apron upgrades in Italy, and $31 million for austere quarters in the Bahamas.

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