Billions more dollars in military funding could soon be funneled to the wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. Senior White House officials would send the money next year for further construction. Using military money is their way of going around ample congressional opposition to the border wall and using taxpayer money toward it.
The president has promised to complete nearly 500 miles of new barrier by the 2020 election, The Washington Post reported. But 500 miles of construction will carry a hefty price tag– a total of $18.4 billion in funding through 2020, far more than the administration has publicly disclosed.
The cost of building 509 miles of barriers averages out to more than $36 million per mile, according to The Post. Not only that–the federal government would need to take land that lies under nearly 200 miles of proposed barrier either by eminent-domain claims or purchases.
Related Article: Trump Seeking $1 Billion for 62 Miles of Border Wall
The funding requests do not end there. The administration has requested $5 billion for barrier funding in 2020 through the Department of Homeland Security budget. If that’s not approved, then the plan is to take money from the Pentagon’s construction budget for the second year in a row to get another $3.6 billion, according to The Post.
There is already significant concern from Democrats and other officials inside the administration. The head of the House Oversight and Reform Committee sent a letter to Lt. Gen. Todd Semonite, the head of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and asked for information on the border wall procurement. The head of the committee was concerned the government was skipping proper contracting processes to build the wall more quickly.
Democratic Committee Chairman Elijah E. Cummings told the Post that lawmakers are also troubled that Trump has been pushing the Corps of Engineers to give contracts to North Dakota-based Fisher Industries–a company whose top executive is a GOP donor and frequent guest on Fox News.