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Pentagon is providing the Congress with money entitled to begin building new walls



According to a memo to rewrite the budget sent by CNN at Capitol Hill on Monday, up to $ 1 billion will be used to build 57 miles of fencing, road improvement and other measures at the southern border.

The Department of Defense The Army Corp of Engineers was authorized to begin planning and building the project on Monday evening. According to a letter from Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan, who has been sent to the Secretary of Homeland Security, Kirstjen Nielsen, the department will channel funds towards the 18-foot fence along the Yuma and El Paso border sections.

In February, President Donald Trump declared a national emergency to put billions of dollars into wall construction. As part of his announcement, he ordered the use of anti-drug funds to fund part of the new wall construction. In the case of a national emergency, other resources may also be earmarked for the construction of the Wall and its associated infrastructure, including military building funds.

Monday's announcement was only the first $ 1

billion the Wall Financing Administration provides. The government had previously announced its intention to relocate another $ 1.5 billion at a later date.

These initial antidotes will eventually flow from the Department of Homeland Security to the Army Corps of Engineers to begin construction.

Senate Democrats immediately opposed the transfer of money to build fencing along the southern border to block drug smuggling.

Each Democratic Senator in the Senate Subcommittee on Defense and Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Offices signed a letter to Shanahan in which he raised objections to a $ 1 billion in anti-drug funds. Senators say the Pentagon did not ask for permission before informing the committee about the transfer.

"We protest both against the content of the transfer and against the department carrying out the transfer without obtaining the approval of the Congressional and Defense Council defense committees against the provisions of the defense itself," the Senator wrote. "As a result, we have serious concerns that the department has allowed political interventions and pet projects to overcome many critical issues of short-term readiness faced by our military."

The letter was signed by Sens. Patrick Leahy, Democrat of Vermont; Dick Durbin, Democrat of Illinois; Jack Reed, Democrat of Rhode Island; Brian Schatz, Democrat of Hawaii; Jon Tester, Democrat of Montana; Patty Murray, Democrat of Washington; Chris Murphy, Democrat of Connecticut; Tammy Baldwin, Democrat of Wisconsin; Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California; and Tom Udall, Democrat of New Mexico.

Katie Bernard of CNN contributed to this report.


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