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


By Julia Edwards Ainsley

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 response to a doc seen by Information.

The fast 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 response to the White Home, with “current funds and assets” of the Division of Homeland Safety.

However thus far, the DHS has recognized solely $20 million that may be re-directed to the multi-billion-dollar undertaking, in response to a doc ready by the company and distributed to congressional funds workers final week.

The doc mentioned the funds can 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 acceptable funds.

An inner report, beforehand reported by Information, estimated that absolutely 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 funds for subsequent fiscal yr. He has estimated the fee to be between $12 billion and $15 billion.

Many Republican lawmakers have mentioned they might 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 undertaking in Naco, Arizona, that got here in below funds and $15 million from a undertaking to put in cameras on prime of vans on the border.

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

The DHS solely looked for further funds inside its $376 million funds for border safety fencing, infrastructure and expertise, so it will not need to ask for congressional approval to repurpose funding, in response to 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 website online.

These vary from small companies to massive authorities contractors comparable to Raytheon (RTN.N).

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