Military

Key Lawmaker Suggests Taking Funds from Corps of Engineers for Border Wall

Sen. James Inhofe, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said Tuesday that he is against taking money out of the military construction budget to fund a wall on the southern border.

Inhofe, R-Oklahoma, said he is less opposed to taking the money from separate funding for the Army Corps of Engineers but stressed that “these are two bad choices.”

However, he said, President Donald Trump may have no recourse but to pick one of those options to provide adequate funding for a lengthy extension of the existing Mexico border wall.

“If it becomes necessary, I think [Trump] might do emergency,” Inhofe said in a reference to the president’s authority to declare a national emergency for wall funding. “If it happens to be that way, leave military construction alone.”

Inhofe spoke at a Defense Writers’ Group breakfast following action Tuesday night by House and Senate leaders to reach a tentative agreement aimed at avoiding a government shutdown Friday at midnight. The agreement includes funding far short of what Trump has requested for the wall.

The tentative agreement includes a reported $1.4 billion for a physical barrier on the southern border; Trump has stated he wants $5.7 billion for his planned border wall.

Inhofe made clear that he firmly backs Trump on the necessity of a wall.

“I don’t know why that is even debatable. We need to have a physical barrier,” he said.

This story will be updated.

— Richard Sisk can be reached at richard.sisk@military.com.

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