Shutdown enters third week as Trump reiterates demand for $5.7 billion in wall funding and White House reveals that Homeland Security is already working with the ARMY to build it

Monday, January 7, 2019
By Paul Martin

Acknowledgment of military’s role in wall construction came in a letter to Congress from the White House budget office
White House official said Monday morning that the letter’s reference to the U.S. Army was ‘no mistake’
Customs and Border Protection is spending money ‘[i]n concert with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers,’ the office said
Trump has argued that a wall between the U.S. and Mexico is needed to block drug cartels and human traffickers from flooding the United States
DailyMail.com asked the president aboard Air Force One in September whether he had a ‘Plan B’ for his wall if Congress was too stingy with money
‘We have two options,’ he said then. ‘We have military, we have homeland security’

By DAVID MARTOSKO, U.S. POLITICAL EDITOR
DAILYMAIL.COM
7 January 2019

The White House continued to insist on a $5.7 billion price tag to end a partial government shutdown on Sunday, declaring for the first time that the U.S. Army will be the primary contractor building President Trump’s border wall.

The latest demand, which House Democrats have declared dead on arrival, came in a letter to key Democratic House committee chairs outlining Customs and Border Protection’s readiness to break literal new ground with taxpayer dollars.

‘In concert with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, CBP has increased its capacity to execute these funds,’ said the letter from the White House budget office.

‘The Administration’s full request would fund construction of a total of approximately 234 miles of new physical barrier and fully fund the top 10 priorities in CBP’s Border Security Improvement Plan.’

Trump has argued that a wall between the U.S. and Mexico is needed to block drug cartels and human traffickers from flooding the United States with illegal immigrants and narcotics, and to block unnamed criminals from entering with caravans of Central Americans.

‘[A] physical barrier – wall – creates an enduring capability that helps field personnel stop, slow down and/or contain illegal entries,’ according to the letter from Russell Vought, who became the budget office’s acting director when Mick Mulvaney became acting chief of staff.

A White House official said Monday morning that the letter’s reference to the U.S. Army was ‘no mistake.’

‘It the president declares a national emergency, the Army Corps of Engineers will kick into high gear,’ the official said. ‘They’re already handing out contracts, and that would speed up a lot.’

The Corps began soliciting bids in mid-2017 for companies to produce ‘a mix of border fence, border wall, border patrol roads, border access roads, border lights, border gates (for access to border monuments, for maintenance, and for Border Patrol operational use), border drainage improvements, levee walls, and other miscellaneous improvements, repairs, and alterations.’

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