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Hundreds of millions in taxpayer dollars meant for border wall left unused, watchdog finds


Daily Caller News Foundation

Hundreds of millions of dollars originally intended to fund construction of the U.S.-Mexico border wall have been left unspent, a top government watchdog announced.

The Government and Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report on whether the Biden administration violated the Impoundment and Control Act of 1974 by blocking funds intended for construction of the southern border wall, because of a request by House Republicans. While the GAO ultimately cleared the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) of violating the law, the report did confirm that DHS used congressionally-appropriated border wall funds for environmental planning and other non-barrier construction.

The report notably added that hundreds of millions of dollars originally intended for border wall construction have remained unspent and unobligated.

“As of January 8, 2024, DHS had obligated about 47 percent of its $1.375 billion appropriation for barrier construction for fiscal year 2021, with about 48 percent of that appropriation remaining available for obligation,” the GAO noted in its report. That leaves ro

The report noted that another $12 million in funds allocated for fiscal year 2020, also originally intended for border wall construction, are left unobligated.

President Donald Trump made border wall construction a hallmark of his administration, with aims to build as much as 450 miles of wall before the completion of his first term. Upon entering office, however, President Joe Biden immediately issued an executive order effectively ending border wall construction. Republicans have since tried to force the administration to resume construction.

Republican Reps. Jack Bergman of Michigan and Jodey Arrington of Texas in November asked the GAO to reevaluate the legality of the Biden administration’s withholding of congressionally-appropriated funds for the U.S.-Mexico border wall. The GAO report ultimately concluded that, while the Biden administration has been slow to build more wall, it isn’t violating the law.

“Considering these factors, the unobligated balance of the 2021 appropriation does not suggest an improper impoundment, and we conclude that the rate at which DHS is incurring obligations against this appropriation is consistent with the [Impoundment and Control Act],” the report noted.

Despite the GAO finding no legal lines were crossed, Republicans are arguing that the report is not exactly something for the Biden administration to celebrate.

“While the GAO report may show that the Biden Administration has not explicitly broken the law, it does show that DHS and the White House are circumventing the law to shirk executive responsibility and accountability,” the House Budget Committee stated in a press release.

“The lack of enforcement and operation control at our southwest border under the Biden Administration is simply a dereliction of duty,” the press release added.

DHS did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the Daily Caller News Foundation.

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Republished with permission from Daily Caller News Foundation

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