Up to $400 million in Puerto Rico military construction eyed for Trump wall
Pentagon identifies projects that have not been committed to as a potential source of funding
SAN JUAN – When President Trump declared a national emergency at the southern U.S. border on Feb. 15, he authorized the use of title 10, U.S. Code, section 2808, which provides the use of the armed forces to support border barrier projects.
The declaration authorizes that, “without regard to any other provision of law,” the military departments undertake construction projects, “not otherwise authorized by law that are necessary to support such use of the armed forces.”
The projects may be undertaken only with funds appropriated for military construction that have not been obligated, or contracted. The Pentagon, therefore has produced a list of projects whose funding may be used to subsidize the border barrier. It includes an $400 million in military construction projects in Puerto Rico.
These include $61.1 million for a “Unit School Replacement” at the former Ramey Air Force Base in Aguadilla and $30 million for a Readiness Center in Arroyo, and for the Camp Santiago Army Base in Salinas, $148.5 million for a “Maneuver Area Training Equipment Site, “National Guard Readiness Center” and “Power Substation/Switching Station Building,” as well as $60 million for “Company Headquarters Building – Transient Training” and a dining facility.
That is according to a list of eligible projects to help determine the level of funding required.
“Decisions have not yet been made concerning which border barrier projects will be funded through section 2808 authority,” the Pentagon said.
Last week Congress voted to recall the emergency declaration but Trump vetoed it. Lawmakers now have an idea of what their constituencies stand to lose and could take the fight to curb use of the funding to courts.
To identify the potential pool of sources from military construction funds, the DoD said no projects that already have been awarded, and ones with fiscal 2019 award dates will be impacted. Also no military housing will be impacted.
“The Pentagon has said in the end, no projects would be lost due to funds being pulled from the wall — as long as Congress fully funds its 2020 request to replenish those funds, that is,” the Military Times wrote.