Democrats have long complained that former President Donald Trump’s plan to build a border wall was a waste of money, leading his successor to cancel the project.
While critics said the decision would sabotage border security, a new report also found that it is costing taxpayers nearly $50 million per year.
$130,000 is being spent to store and maintain unused supplies
According to Fox News, Republican members of the Senate Armed Forces Committee recently sent a letter to Melissa Dalton, who serves as assistant secretary of defense for homeland defense and hemispheric affairs.
In it, the lawmakers cited information provided to them by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers showing that $130,000 a day is being spent to store and maintain unused border wall panels.
“At present, over 20,000 border wall sections, otherwise known as bollard panels, lie unused at 20 project sites across southern Arizona and New Mexico,” they pointed out.
“Every day, the Department of Defense pays $130,000 to store, maintain, and secure these materials,” the senators continued.
Defense Department won’t allow Texas to use supplies to build its own wall
“Since you were sworn in as the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and Hemispheric Affairs a year ago, you have allowed the Department to pay over $47 million to store these panels,” they noted.
The Republicans went on to insist that “[t]he Department of Defense should not be incurring these daily charges but should be using these funds to bolster national security.”
They then demanded to know why the materials in question were not being turned over to the state of Texas for its own border wall project.
“We assume you are well aware of this capability since the Department used the program to transfer 1,700 border wall panels to the state of Texas early in your tenure,” the senators wrote.
Committee chair calls policy a “clear example of government”
“It has come to our attention that only 4% of the excess bollard panel materials have been transferred. We urge you to pursue all possible avenues to sponsor or endorse the reuse of excess Department of Defense property, including further transfer to states,” the lawmakers told Dalton.
Fox News reported that the letter was signed by almost every Republican member of the Senate Armed Forces Committee, including Chairman Roger Wicker.
“It is astounding to me that the Department of Defense is paying $130,000 per day to do nothing with $300 million worth of border wall materials,” Wicker was quoted as telling Fox News.
“This clear example of government waste is holding back our mission to protect American citizens and American security,” he complained.
“President Biden appears to prefer spending money to avoid building the wall, rather than protect Americans from cartels,” the Mississippi alleged.