Shanahan visits US-Mexico border as Pentagon weighs moving funds for Trump's wall

Shanahan visits US-Mexico border as Pentagon weighs moving funds for Trump's wall
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Acting Defense Secretary Patrick ShanahanPatrick Michael ShanahanEsper's chief of staff to depart at end of January Defense chief calls on European allies to be wary of China's investments, blasts Russia Pentagon chief approves 20 more miles of border wall MORE toured the U.S.-Mexico border on Saturday as the Pentagon weighs reallocating billions of dollars in funding for President TrumpDonald John TrumpMnuchin knocks Greta Thunberg's activism: Study economics and then 'come back' to us The Hill's Morning Report - House prosecutes Trump as 'lawless,' 'corrupt' What to watch for on Day 3 of Senate impeachment trial MORE's border wall.

The Associated Press reported that Shanahan, accompanied by Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford, visited the border near El Paso, Texas, to see how the military could strengthen efforts to prevent drug trafficking and other crimes.

Shanahan and Dunford visited a site where National Guard troops are coordinating with Customs and Border Protection authorities, the AP reported. The officials are expected to fly over two other sites farther west later on Saturday.


The sites, according to the AP, are part of a list of high-priority projects submitted to Shanahan from the Department of Homeland Security on Friday. The list aims to drum up support for the department's request for funding for road construction and replacements for pedestrian fencing and vehicle barriers, as well as more lighting.

The Pentagon did not immediately respond to The Hill's request for comment. 

These projects are separate from those Shanahan is expected to pay for by funneling money appropriated by Congress for military construction projects, and could total as much as $3.6 billion, according to the AP. Shanahan's trip to the border on Saturday is meant to help him determine whether such a diversion is necessary.

The trip comes after Trump last week declared a national emergency to bypass Congress and allow for the diversion of funds given to other projects and agencies for his border wall.

Democrats have argued that there is not an emergency at the border. House Democrats on Friday brought a resolution to counter Trump's national emergency declaration, scheduling it for a floor vote on Tuesday.

Trump said Friday that he will "100 percent" veto the resolution if it manages to pass both the Democratic-held House and GOP-led Senate.