FILE - In this March 13, 2018 file photo, President Donald Trump talks with reporters as he reviews border wall prototypes in San Diego. Trump is floating the idea of using the military’s budget to pay for his long-promised border wall with Mexico. Trump raised the idea to House Speaker Paul Ryan at a meeting last week, according to a person familiar with the discussion who spoke on condition of anonymity. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

Trump suggests paying for US border wall with Pentagon funds

President Trump is floating the idea of using the military’s budget to pay for his long-promised border wall with Mexico.

Still angry about the budget deal he signed last week, President Donald Trump has floated the idea of using the Pentagon budget to pay for his long-promised border wall with Mexico, despite the fact that such spending would likely require approval from Congress.

Trump raised the funding plan with House Speaker Paul Ryan at a meeting at the White House last Wednesday, according to a person familiar with the discussion who wasn’t authorized to speak publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

And he has tweeted that building “a great Border Wall” is “all about National Defence” and has called to “Build WALL through M!” — the military.

Departments, however, have limited authority to reprogram funds without congressional approval. Pentagon spokesman Chris Sherwood referred all questions on the wall to the White House, where spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders deflected them, saying she was “not going to get into the specifics of that.”

Related: Trump inspects border wall prototypes, denounces California

Trump threw Washington into a tizzy on Friday when he threatened to veto the omnibus spending bill, in part because it didn’t include the $25 billion he’d tried to secure for the wall in a last-minute bargaining spree.

The $1.3 trillion funding package did include $1.6 billion in border wall spending. But much of that money can only be used to repair existing segments, not build new sections. Congress also put restrictions on the types of barriers that can be built.

Trump has tried to justify signing the deal by pointing to the boost in funding it provides for the military. But he nonetheless remains frustrated, according to people familiar with his thinking who weren’t authorized to discuss private conversations and who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Related: Trump denies he used vulgarity to describe Haiti, African countries

Trump first publicly floated the idea of having the Pentagon pay for the rest of construction in an obscure tweet that left many confused.

“Building a great Border Wall, with drugs (poison) and enemy combatants pouring into our Country, is all about National Defence,” he wrote Sunday. “Build WALL through M!”

He retweeted his message again Monday night.

Some people close to the president have also suggested creating a GoFundMe campaign that Trump could use to raise money from the public to fund construction. The White House did not immediately respond to questions about the idea, and it’s unclear whether it has gained any serious traction.

Congress, under the Constitution, has the power to determine federal appropriations, and the administration has little authority to shift funding without congressional approval. The Senate Appropriations Committee was not aware of any authority that would allow the Defence Department to fund the wall without congressional approval, said a GOP aide.

Sanders said Tuesday that Trump would work with the White House counsel to make sure any action taken was within his executive authority. And she insisted the “continuation of building the wall is ongoing and we’re going to continue moving forward in that process.”

Building the wall was one of Trump’s top campaign promises, and the idea that drew the loudest cheers from supporters at his rallies. Trump also insisted he’d make Mexico pay for the construction. But Mexico has made clear it has no intention of doing so.

Trump has also proposed making Mexico pay for the wall indirectly through measures such as increasing visa fees, imposing new tariffs and targeting remittances.

___

Associated Press writers Lisa Mascaro and Lolita C. Baldor contributed to this report.

Jill Colvin, The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

UPDATED: Okanagan Mountain Park fire forces evacuation alert

Properties from 6006 to 8888 Lakeshore Road are being placed on an evacuation alert

Carrot Mountain fire fans smoke over West Kelowna

A cluster of three fires are burning above West Kelowna

Complete list of B.C. Interior wildfire coverage

Up-to-date information on blazes happening the Kamloops Wildfire Centre

UPDATED: Highway 97 closed again due to wildfire

Motorists may use an alternate route via Highway 97C, Highway 5A and Highway 3

Two fires caused by lightning at Big White last night

The fires are currently being contained

Breaking: More evacuation orders for Mount Eneas wildfire, south of Peachland

The BC Wildfire Service is battling a large wildfire alongside Highway 97 in Peachland.

Update: Summerland wildfire forces PIB state of emergency

More than 40 firefighters are on scene of the wildfire near Mount Conkle, just outside of Summerland.

Hockey trip fraudster receives house arrest

Man duped 16 families with Okanagan Elite Hockey Association out of over $100,000

Four wild fires still burning near Keremeos

One fire was extinguished and another reported after lightning came through area

‘Amazing Race Canada’ competitors face B.C. challenge

They drove Corvettes, mastered falconry basics, and ate blueberry pie in the Cowichan Valley

Installers to battle Team B.C.

Exhibition men’s fastball Saturday in Vernon

Grizzly bear jumps in river, chases B.C. kayaker

The bear got a bit too close for comfort along the Elaho River near Squamish

Parks Canada looks to shine light on cloudy future for historic sites

A plan is in place to produce 10-year plans designed to turn around sagging attendance figures

B.C. poet shines a bright light on struggle with homelessness

Book launch for John La Greca’s Homeless Memorial is at Vernon’s Gallery Vertigo July 21.

Most Read