Unique: Trump administration has discovered solely $20 million in current funds for wall

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By Julia Edwards Ainsley
| WASHINGTON

WASHINGTON President Donald Trump’s promise to make use of current funds to start instant building of a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border has hit a monetary roadblock, in line with a doc seen by Information.

The speedy begin of building, promised all through Trump’s marketing campaign and in an government order issued in January on border safety, was to be financed, in line with the White Home, with “current funds and assets” of the Division of Homeland Safety.

However to this point, the DHS has recognized solely $20 million that may be re-directed to the multi-billion-dollar challenge, in line with a doc ready by the company and distributed to congressional price range employees final week.

The doc mentioned the funds could be sufficient to cowl a handful of contracts for wall prototypes, however not sufficient to start building of an precise barrier. Which means for the wall to maneuver ahead, the White Home might want to persuade Congress to applicable funds.

An inner report, beforehand reported by Information, estimated that totally walling off or fencing your complete southern border would value $21.6 billion – $9.three million per mile of fence and $17.eight million per mile of wall.

DHS officers didn’t reply to a request for touch upon this story.

Trump has mentioned he’ll ask Congress to pay for what current funds can’t cowl and that Mexico can be pressured to pay again U.S. taxpayers at a later date.

Republican Home Speaker Paul Ryan has mentioned he’ll embrace funding for a border wall within the price range for subsequent fiscal 12 months. He has estimated the associated fee to be between $12 billion and $15 billion.

Many Republican lawmakers have mentioned they’d vote in opposition to a plan that doesn’t offset the price of the wall with spending cuts.

Within the doc it submitted to Congress, the DHS mentioned it will reallocate $5 million from a fence challenge in Naco, Arizona, that got here in below price range and $15 million from a challenge to put in cameras on high of vehicles on the border.

The surveillance challenge was awarded to Virginia-based Tactical Micro, however was held up as a consequence of protests from different contractors, in line with the DHS doc. Tactical Micro couldn’t be reached for remark.

The DHS solely looked for additional funds inside its $376 million price range for border safety fencing, infrastructure and know-how, so it will not need to ask for congressional approval to repurpose funding, in line with the doc.

Contractors can’t start bidding to develop prototypes till March 6 however greater than 265 companies have already got listed themselves as ” events” on a authorities site.

These vary from small companies to giant authorities contractors reminiscent of Raytheon (RTN.N).

(Reporting by Julia Edwards Ainsley; Modifying by Sue Horton and Invoice Trott)