Politics

Biden Cancels Pentagon Funding for Border Wall Construction Ordered by President Trump

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The Biden administration announced Friday that it would cancel the Department of Defense funding of the border wall ordered by President Trump. This is Biden’s latest move to stop the wall, which was not planned by Trump, to secure the border with Mexico. After taking office on January 20, Biden ordered a stop to check the construction of the border wall. The White House has since announced that it will consider filling gaps in the wall caused by the sudden stop but not the completion.

Illegal foreign migrants gather at the unfinished border wall to be let into the US by the Biden government in March 2021.

Ministry of Defense statement:

DOD clearance to cancel the cancellation of the Border Barrier project

The Department of Defense today released the following statement canceling all border barrier construction projects that have been paid for with funds originally earmarked for military missions and projects.

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“In accordance with the President’s proclamation, the Department of Defense is canceling all border barrier construction projects paid for with funds originally earmarked for other military missions and functions such as schools for military children, overseas military construction projects in partner countries and the National Guard and Reserve Equipment Account “Said Jamal Brown, Pentagon deputy spokesman. “DOD has started to take all necessary measures to cancel border protection projects and coordinate with the interagency partners. Today’s action reflects this government’s continued commitment to defending our nation and supporting our service members and their families. “

With this cancellation, non-binding military construction funds diverted from military construction projects will be used on previously deferred military construction projects in order to allow some of these critical efforts to move forward as quickly as possible. The department reviews the list of deferred projects to prioritize funding.

The department will continue to work with its Interagents to take further action on construction sites affected by the project cancellation.

The Washington Post reported that about $ 2.6 billion of Pentagon money was not spent on the wall (excerpt):

The joint announcement by the Defense and Homeland Security Ministries on Friday did not reveal how much money the cancellation would save, nor whether any leftover funds would be used to pay demobilization costs to contractors whose bulldozers and excavators were brought to a standstill on Jan. .

An estimate made by the Army Corps of Engineers last fall showed that if Biden Trump did not continue building plans for about 285 additional miles of boundary barriers, about $ 3.3 billion in funds would be left over. The government would save about $ 2.6 billion after paying the demobilization costs to contractors, the estimate.

It’s also unclear how unfinished boundary wall segments were funded with approximately $ 5 billion in Congressional funding for the DHS during Trump’s tenure. GOP critics of Biden’s decision insist that he is legally required to spend the funds on building barriers, but Democrats want leftover DHS building funds to be used for border improvement and security projects.

In a separate statement on Friday, the DHS said it would use funds provided by Congress to repair flood dikes in the lower Rio Grande Valley that were damaged during the construction of the border wall. The effort won’t expand the barrier, the department said.

Appeal reported Friday that GAO is reviewing Biden’s spending freeze. Congress suitable for the wall (excerpt):

As early as next month, the Government Accountability Office will issue a statement on the legality of Biden’s decision to provide more than $ 1 billion in mortgage lending for a southern border wall.

GAO, the investigative arm of Congress, began drafting the statement after Republican lawmakers accused Biden of breaking the budget law by stopping construction of the border wall and disrupting the commitment of the funds.

“We currently have a decision pending that we are working on,” said Edda Emmanuelli Perez, GAO deputy attorney general, who testified Thursday at a House Budget Committee hearing. She said GAO had asked the Bureau of Administration and Budget and the Department of Homeland Security to provide factual and legal views to GAO. “And we expect your answers now by mid to late next week.”

Even before lawmakers asked for comment in March, GAO began investigating funds withheld after Biden interrupted construction of the border wall on his first day in office. The administration said it wanted the opportunity to conduct a study of alternative uses for the funds.

USA Today reporter Courtney Subramanian quoted an unnamed Biden official who devastated President Trump’s wall and said he had diverted resources from combating human trafficking away from real security challenges like human trafficking, “said an administration official. “Hasty and random wall construction also created serious problems related to life, safety and the environment,” the official said.

“Hasty and random wall construction also created serious problems related to life, safety and the environment,” the official said.

– Courtney Subramanian (@cmsub) April 30, 2021

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Robert Dunfee