The White House has declared for the first time that the U.S. Army will be the main contractor building the southern border wall, the Daily Mail reported on Monday.
'If the president declares a national emergency, the Army Corps of Engineers will kick into high gear,” a White House official said. “They're already handing out contracts, and that would speed up a lot.”
Trump has said that he would consider declaring a national emergency to circumvent Congress, although such a move would almost certainly be challenged legally.
The Corps began soliciting bids in mid-2017 for companies to produce a wide range of security at the border, including a wall.
One recent $145 million contract was for a company to build, starting next month, a levee wall that will shore up parts of the Rio Grande River, and to put up new 18-foot steel-slatted walls atop concrete barriers that already exist.
Trump told the Daily Mail that he preferred to obtain the funds from Congress, but would consider the military or Department of Homeland Security if negotiations with Democrats fail.
A letter from the White House budget office to Congress stated:
“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.”
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