Sep 5, 2019

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

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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Trump says he will campaign against Lisa Murkowski after her support for Mattis

Trump with Barr and Meadows outside St. John's Episcopal church in Washington, D.C. on June 1. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump tweeted on Thursday that he would endorse "any candidate" with a pulse who runs against Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska).

Driving the news: Murkowski said on Thursday that she supported former defense secretary James Mattis' condemnation of Trump over his response to protests in the wake of George Floyd's killing. She described Mattis' statement as "true, honest, necessary and overdue," Politico's Andrew Desiderio reports.

5 hours ago - World

The president vs. the Pentagon

Trump visits Mattis and the Pentagon in 2018. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty

Over the course of just a few hours, President Trump was rebuffed by the Secretary of Defense over his call for troops in the streets and accused by James Mattis, his former Pentagon chief, of trampling the Constitution for political gain.

Why it matters: Current and former leaders of the U.S. military are drawing a line over Trump's demand for a militarized response to the protests and unrest that have swept the country over the killing of George Floyd by police.

New York Times says Tom Cotton op-ed did not meet standards

Photo: Avalon/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

A New York Times spokesperson said in a statement Thursday that the paper will be changing its editorial board processes after a Wednesday op-ed by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), which called for President Trump to "send in the troops" in order to quell violent protests, failed to meet its standards.

Why it matters: The shift comes after Times employees began a coordinated movement on social media on Wednesday and Thursday that argued that publishing the op-ed put black staff in danger. Cotton wrote that Trump should invoke the Insurrection Act in order to deploy the U.S. military against rioters that have overwhelmed police forces in cities across the country.