The Pentagon is shifting $1.5 billion in funds originally targeted for support of the Afghan security forces and other projects to help pay for construction of 80 miles of wall at the US-Mexican border, officials said Friday, according to The Associated Press.
Congress was notified of the move Friday. It follows the Pentagon's decision in March to transfer $1 billion from Army personnel budget accounts to support wall construction.
Some lawmakers have been highly critical of the Pentagon shifting money not originally authorized for border security, noted AP.
The border wall has been a point of contention between President Donald Trump and the Democrats, who are opposed to the construction of the wall.
Trump declared a national emergency on February 15 to circumvent Congress and allocate nearly $8 billion to fund his long-sought project along the US-Mexico border.
Trump’s decision to declare a national emergency followed the 35-day government shutdown which started when Congress refused to approve $5.7 billion to help build a portion of the wall.
The shutdown ended on January 25 when the sides reached a deal for government to reopen for three weeks until February 15 while negotiations between Republicans and Democrats continue in an attempt to reach an agreement on border security.
Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, who has said he plans to visit the border on Saturday, said Friday in announcing the shift of funds that the Pentagon is "fully engaged" in fixing the border crisis. He said more than 4,000 troops and 19 aircraft are supporting Customs and Border Protection personnel.
"Today, I authorized the transfer of $1.5 billion toward the construction of more than 80 miles of border barrier," he said. "The funds were drawn from a variety of sources, including cost savings, programmatic changes and revised requirements, and therefore will have minimal impact on force readiness."
(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)