Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan gestures while speaking to members of the media aboard a military plane prior to his arrival at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., Saturday, Feb. 23, 2019. Pablo Martinez Monsivais/Pool via REUTERS
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Acting Pentagon Chief Patrick Shanahan said on Monday he had provided Congress with a list of projects from the military construction budget that could be cut back in order to help pay for a wall on the border with Mexico.
Last month Trump declared a national emergency in a bid to fund his promised wall at the U.S.-Mexico border without congressional approval.
The emergency declaration allows the Trump administration to use money from the military construction budget, if needed.
Trump issued the first veto of his presidency on Friday to block a measure passed by Democrats and Republicans in Congress that would terminate his emergency declaration for a wall on the U.S. border with Mexico to stem illegal immigration and crime.
Speaking before the start of his meeting with his French counterpart, Shanahan was asked if he had sent the list of projects to Congress.
“I have,” Shanahan said.
The issue was highlighted during a tense Congressional hearing on Thursday, when Democratic Senators demanded that they be provided a list of military that could be impacted if funding was used to build a wall.
“This unacceptable series of evasions should trouble members of Congress, regardless of political party,” Senator Jack Reed said in a statement after the hearing last week.
Military officials have vowed that they would not use any funds from military housing.
Reporting by Idrees Ali; Editing by Alistair Bell