Trump border wall plan will tap $8 billion from national emergency

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump will use a national emergency and other measures to tap $8 billion from the budget for his controversial border wall, far more than the $5.7 billion he initially demanded, White House officials said Friday.

Trump Friday announced the unusual step of declaring a national emergency on the border to free up funding for 234 miles of bollard wall, a move that is almost guaranteed to draw the White House into a lengthy legal battle over the president’s ability to use the tool for that purpose.  

Here is a look at where the White House will find the money: 

Military construction  

Trump will attempt to access $3.6 billion in military construction money. Unlike other portions of the plan, the president must declare a national emergency to access this account, which has long been rumored to be under consideration. The money is used for military bases and other projects. President George W. Bush tapped into this same account after he declared a national emergency following the 2001 terrorist attacks. 

White House officials said they did not yet know which military constructions might be cancelled or delayed by the move.  

Asset forfeiture

Trump will dip into about $600 million in asset forfeiture funds at Department of Treasury. This funding has been controversial on both sides of the aisle because it comes from government seizures of property. 

More: National emergencies are common; declaring one for a border wall is not

More: Trump’s emergency declaration would trigger a drawn-out legal fight

More: How congressional Democrats could fight a Trump national emergency

Drug interdiction 

Current law gives the president power to rely on the Department of Defense for drug interdiction in certain cases, even without a national emergency. The law says the Pentagon can assist in that effort through the building of fences and other measures. The White House believes it can draw about $2.5 billion through this provision. 

White House officials did not say, specifically, where that money will come from.  

Congressional funding 

Part of Trump’s package includes the $1.375 billion that Congress approved on a bipartisan basis for border barriers late Thursday night. That measure, which will also avert another government shutdown, limits Trump to spending the money only on previously approved barrier designs, including the “bollard wall” design that was also used by the Obama administration.  


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