During the government shutdown that persisted into the New Year, President Donald Trump had requested a mere $5 billion for the border wall that was central to his campaign (which is only a fraction of the $15-25 billion needed to complete it). Of the $5 billion, some of the funds would’ve gone to general border security too, so it wasn’t even all specifically for the wall.
Democrats refused to grant him even that (which is less than what the federal government spends in 12 hours), including Democrats who voted to construct 700 miles of fencing with the 2006 Secure Fence Act.
One estimate found that the extended shutdown, due to Democrats reluctance to give Trump his (partial) border wall, cost the economy $11 billion. In other words, in an attempt to prevent $5 billion in spending on Trump’s border wall, Congressional Democrats cost the American economy twice as much.
After the shutdown, Trump instead opted for another strategy; declaring a national emergency and then diverting funds from the military budget to build the wall. And when you see how much funds have already been set aside to potentially pay for the wall, Democrats are going to wish they bit the bullet and simply gave Trump the initial $5 billion he requested. According to The Blaze,:
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.
Amusingly, the Democrats strategy to preserve military funding (only to spite Trump) could backfire, as most of their base supports a smaller defense budget.
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.
Given that the spending cuts listed are pennies on the dollar in the context of $12.8 billion in savings, it’s likely the spending abroad that would see the biggest cut. According to the Washington Examiner, which identified even more specific cuts:
California was identified as having more than $700 million in unused Army and Navy military construction that could be used. Hawaii has more than $400 million that could be used. More than $200 million in similar funding allocated for Hawaii, Maine, New York, North Carolina, Guam, Germany, Guam, and Guantanamo Bay Cuba are also on the list.
The Dept of Defense identified $12.8 billion from projects that can be reallocated to US-Mexico #BorderWall construction.
— The Epoch Times (@EpochTimes) March 19, 2019
Since it was only $3.6 billion specifically requested towards his (big, beautiful) wall during the shutdown, Trump could very well end up getting nearly four times what he asked for.
Thank God the Democrats didn’t cave during that shutdown!