GAO Backs Biden’s Freeze on Congress’ Border Wall Funds

A halted border wall construction project in West Texas. (Photo: Randy Clark/Breitbart Texas)
Photo: Randy Clark/Breitbart Texas

President Joe Biden has only set a “pause” on the construction of the border wall funded by Congress in 2020, so he is not really violating budget laws, according to the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

The GAO’s claim “makes clear that there are two sets of rules when it comes to executing funds appropriated by Congress: one for Democrat administrations and one for Republican administrations,” GOP Senators responded. 

“The [GAO] decision splits hairs to justify actions that, just two years ago, were determined to be contrary to ‘the faithful execution of the law,’” said the statement by Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL.) and Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), the top GOP members of the Senate’s appropriations panels. They added:

GAO’s decision does not change two critical facts: (1) there is a crisis on the southern border and it is getting worse; and (2) Congress—on a bipartisan basis—appropriated funding to build a wall, which the U.S. Border Patrol has long said is needed to help stop illegal immigration.  We hope our colleagues in Congress recognize this overreach by the executive branch and don’t excuse it just because they are in the same political party.

In 2020, Congress appropriated $1.9 billion for building a border wall to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Under long-standing laws, Presidents must spend — or “obligate” — the money, and they cannot avoid spending — “impound” — the funds allocated by Congress for the goals set by Congress.

But the federal government’s watchdog –the GAO — is choosing to view Biden’s freeze as just a pause, even though the money was intended to continue existing building contracts. By freezing the spending, Biden’s deputies are leaving gaps in the wall, even though building materials have already been delivered to the construction sites.

“We conclude that delays in the obligation and expenditure of DHS’s appropriations are programmatic delays, not impoundments,” said the GAO report, released July 15. The report continued:

DHS and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) have shown that the use of funds is delayed in order to perform environmental reviews and consult with various stakeholders, as required by law, and determine project funding needs in light of changes that warrant using funds differently than initially planned.

The current chief of the GAO is Gene L. Dodaro. He was nominated by President Barack Obama for a 15-year term in 2010.

There is no evidence that the administration wants to continue building the border wall as directed by Congress. For example, on June 11, Biden released a plan to not spend the appropriated money on the security wall, saying:

the Administration is reiterating its call for Congress to cancel funds it previously appropriated for border barrier projects so that these resources can instead be used for modern, effective border management measures to improve safety and security.

Instead of spending the money, officials are launching a series of time-wasting studies and investigations into various possibilities and options. The diverted focus will leave many small gaps in the border wall for wage-cutting economic migrants and drug-carrying “mules” — and also may leave many sensors unconnected to the border surveillance network.

The economic migrants are seeking blue-collar jobs held by ordinary Americans, not the white-collar jobs held by GAO staffers in Washington D.C.

Biden’s decision is different from President Donald Trump’s 2019 decision not to obligate $214 million in aid appropriated for Ukraine, the 2021 report claimed.

But in January 2020, GAO denounced Trump for impounding aid to Ukraine. The 2020 GAO report declared that Trump’s policy objection to the spending was “not permitted under the Impoundment Control Act ….  Faithful execution of the law does not permit the President to substitute his own policy priorities for those that Congress has enacted into law.”

To stay within the letter of the law, Biden’s June 11 plan also announced he would follow the law, as interpreted by his pro-migration deputies: “the Administration will continue to use the funds responsibly for their appropriated purpose, as required by law, and DHS has developed a plan to do so.”

However, the GAO report acknowledged that Biden’s delaying tactics could eventually violate the law, saying:

The congressional oversight and appropriations committees should consider requiring OMB and DHS to submit a timeline detailing the planned uses and timeframes for obligating DHS’s fiscal year 2021 appropriation. A detailed timeline could serve as a tool for rigorous oversight to ensure the President does not substitute his own policies and priorities in place of those established through the legislative process.

Shelby and Capito posted tweets to show their objections to the GAO’s claim. In contrast, Capito’s counterpart on the House appropriations committee, Rep. Chuck Fleischmann (R-TN), did not release a statement on the GAO report before this article was posted.

However, he did post a tweet that focused on Vice President Kamala Harris.

Biden’s DHS has adopted a strategy of extracting workers, consumers, and renters from other countries for use in the U.S economy. The consumers, renters, and workers are being pulled through the border by officials who are widening a series of small side doors in immigration law.

In reality, Biden’s border chief, Alejandro Mayorkas, is giving hope to migrants by using obscure immigration laws to help them walk through the U.S. border.

For example, when illegal migrants are caught near the border, Mayorkas uses his legal authority to send them back to the five-yard line in Mexico instead of flying them 2,000 miles back to Central America.

He is helping economic migrants get jobs by letting them file for political asylum in the United States. He is helping teenage economic migrants walk into jobs via a side door created in 2008 law for victimized children. He is helping older migrants stay in the United States by letting them use the 2008 law to pull their left-behind children up into the United States.

Mayorkas is also using his parole power to invite lawfully deported migrants to rejoin their left-behind migrant children who are applying for asylum. He is using the U Visa program to provide work permits d anSocial Security Numbers to migrants who say they were victimized by a crime in the United States.

In April, for example, Mayorkas let roughly 70,000 working-age migrants through the U.S.-Mexico border, just as companies complain that wages are rising for Americans.

Mayorkas’s policy helps U.S. investors and Democrats by extracting consumers, renters, workers, and possible future voters from foreign countries for exploitation in the United States. Investors use the migrants to cut Americans’ wages and drive up real estate costs.

Mayorkas’s welcome also helps drug cartels inject drugs into Americans. The statement by Shelby and Capito noted:

Since President Biden issued his illegal proclamation the day he was inaugurated, 633,342 illegal immigrants have been caught crossing the border; 87,674 have been released into the interior of our country, many never to be heard from again; and untold others have entered undetected. Just two weeks ago, we learned that another border sector is so overwhelmed that it is releasing illegal immigrants without a notice to appear in immigration court.  Already this fiscal year, U.S. Border Patrol has encountered nearly three times as many convicted criminal aliens on the Southwest Border compared to last year.  That’s not to mention the amount of drugs that may have been smuggled into our country.  Migrants, responding to the President’s open-borders policies, are increasingly coming from all over the world, not just to Mexico and Central America.

“The Biden Administration has the means to end this crisis, but it chooses not to do so,” the statement said. “That’s unfortunate for both our citizens and the rule of law.”

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