The Pentagon said Tuesday that there is no current plan for the military to build sections of the border wall, but suggested that the law would allow the Defense Department to fund doing so in some cases.
“To date, there is no plan to build sections of the wall. However, Congress has provided options under Title 10 U.S. Code that could permit the Department of Defense to fund border barrier projects, such as in support of counter drug operations or national emergencies,” Pentagon spokesman Army Lt. Col. Jamie Davis said.
The Pentagon statement came after President Trump on Tuesday morning said the military could build remaining sections of a border wall.
“People do not yet realize how much of the Wall, including really effective renovation, has already been built. If the Democrats do not give us the votes to secure our Country, the Military will build the remaining sections of the Wall. They know how important it is!” he tweeted Tuesday.
Trump later on Tuesday called the border crisis a “national emergency” during a meeting with incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (CA) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (NY), and evoked drug control.
“We’re going to see. Look, we have to have the wall. This isn’t a question; this is a national emergency. Drugs are pouring into our country. People with tremendous medical difficulty and medical problems are pouring in, and in many — in many cases, it’s contagious. They’re pouring into our country. We have to have border security. We have to have a wall as part of border security,” he said.
Rep. Adam Smith (D-WA), the incoming chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, told reporters Tuesday that lawmakers on both sides of the aisle would try to stop Trump from using the military to build the wall, according to the Washington Examiner.
Smith doesn’t think there is wall funding in Trump’s $750B defense budget top line, but if so lawmakers would ‘freak out’ and move to stop it.
— Travis J. Tritten (@Travis_Tritten) December 12, 2018
However, Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), chairman of the Armed Services Committee, left open the possibility of having the military build the wall, according to Bloomberg:
.@JimInhofe says he doesn’t expect the U.S. military to build the border wall. Much will also depend on how the president makes the request; any projects under mil construction have to be authorized but could be asked differently. Inhofe has his own border bill as alternative
— Roxana Tiron (@rtiron) December 11, 2018
Inhofe, however, has been advocating for his own border funding bill.
In an exclusive interview with Breitbart News last week, Inhofe said his bill would fully fund the border wall by cutting off illegal aliens’ access to welfare benefits and tax credits.
The bill would stipulate that only Americans or legal immigrants with work-authorized Social Security numbers can claim child tax credits, earned income tax credits, and other tax credits.