More than 120 US military construction projects will be adversely affected as the Pentagon prepares to use $3.6bn to help build or enhance parts of the border wall with Mexico, US officials said on Tuesday.
The emergency declaration allows the Trump administration to use money from the military construction budget and the Pentagon has said it could use $3.6bn from the budget.
In March, the Pentagon provided Congress with a broad list of projects that could be affected, but did not provide details.
On Tuesday, Pentagon officials said 127 would be impacted and the first $1.8bn would come from deferred military construction projects outside the United States. The second tranche would come from deferred military projects inside the country, the officials said.
“Department of Defense components and military departments provided input and prioritised projects based on affects on readiness and consistency with the national defence strategy,” Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman told reporters.
Hoffman said politicians were being notified about the decision, after which the specific projects affected would be released.
Elaine McCusker, the Pentagon comptroller, said the money will be used to build 11 border projects.
‘Deeply dangerous decision’
The announcement was immediately criticised by Democratic politicians.
“This decision will harm already planned, important projects intended to support our service members at military installations in New York, across the United States, and around the world,” Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the “cancelling military construction projects at home and abroad will undermine our national security and the quality of life and morale of our troops, making America less secure.”
She added that the House of Representatives “will continue to fight this unacceptable and deeply dangerous decision in the courts, in the Congress and in the court of public opinion and honour our oath to protect the Constitution”.
The decision is also expected to draw criticism from Republicans who have cautioned the administration against using defence fund for the border wall.