House Armed Services chairman denies $1 billion transfer for Trump wall

Chairman of the House Armed Forces Committee Adam Smith (D-WA) awaits the arrival of Acting U.S. Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford to testify on the Fiscal Year 2020 National Defense Budget Request from the Department of Defense on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., March 26, 2019. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. House of Representatives Armed Services Committee on Tuesday denied the Pentagon’s plan to shift $1 billion to build a wall on the U.S. border with Mexico, intensifying the conflict over President Donald Trump’s signature campaign pledge.

Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan announced on Monday that the Department of Defense had shifted $1 billion from other military construction projects in order to help pay for the barrier along the southern border.

Democratic Representative Adam Smith, the committee’s chairman, said the committee did not approve the proposed use of Pentagon funds.

“DoD is attempting to circumvent Congress and the American people’s opposition to using taxpayer money for the construction of an unnecessary wall, and the military is paying the cost,” Smith said in a statement.

(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle and Idrees Ali; Editing by Dan Grebler)