US Border Wall

FILE - In this Sept. 10, 2019 file photo, government contractors erect a section of Pentagon-funded border wall along the Colorado River in Yuma, Ariz. Defense officials say the Department of Homeland Security has asked the Pentagon to fund the construction of 270 miles of border wall this year as part of a counter-drug effort. (AP Photo/Matt York)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Pentagon on Thursday slashed billions of dollars in funding for 17 Navy and Air Force aircraft and other military programs to free up money for the construction of President Donald Trump’s long-sought U.S.-Mexico border wall, angering not just Democrats but also GOP defense hawks.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper approved the $3.8 billion border wall request from the Department of Homeland Security, and the Pentagon acknowledged that more cuts could be coming to provide additional funding for Trump’s signature campaign promise.

Thursday’s decision only heightened sharp divisions between Trump and members of Congress who have opposed the use of military funding for the wall construction. Trump has repeatedly claimed that Mexico is paying for his promised “big beautiful wall,” but that has never happened.

The Pentagon’s decision, announced in “reprogramming” documents provided to lawmakers, strips money from major aircraft and procurement programs that touch Republican and Democratic districts and states. And it got bipartisan condemnation, including from the Democratic and Republican leaders of the House Armed Services Committee.

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