Sep 4, 2019 - Science

$400M in Puerto Rico recovery projects deferred over Trump border wall

Construction begins along the U.S. border with Mexico where the new border wall will replace old fencing on August 23

Construction along the southern border in Calexico, California, in August. Photo: Carolyn Van Houten/The Washington Post via Getty Images

The Pentagon is deferring $400 million in Hurricane Maria recovery projects in Puerto Rico so the funds can instead go toward construction of President Trump's border wall, a Defense Department list published Wednesday shows.

Why it matters: Puerto Rico declared bankruptcy in 2017 amid "the biggest government financial collapse in United States history," and it's still struggling to recover from Hurricane Maria. The funding had been allocated for 10 military construction projects in the U.S. territory.

  • The Pentagon list shows all of those projects have been delayed, along with 117 other military construction projects in the United States and its territories to cover $3.6 billion in costs for construction of fencing along the southern border.
  • The Washington Post notes that while the affected projects are classified by the Pentagon as "deferred," Congress would have to again agree to fund them.

The big picture: The Republican-led Senate has agreed to do so in its annual defense policy bill, but the Democratic-led House declined to do the same, per WashPost.

  • A possible compromise could be reached when the Senate and House make trades to meld 2 bills into 1 before seeking the president’s signature, WashPost notes.
  • The American Civil Liberties Union says it will file a motion to block the $3.6 billion from being used to fund the wall.

Go deeper: Not a single mile of border wall has been built where fencing did not exist before

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