On his first day in office, President Joe Biden moved to unilaterally shut down the construction of his predecessor’s famed border wall. The Biden administration has since spent millions of dollars each day to not build the wall.
With the country facing a border crisis, that’s simply foolish. It also appears to be illegal. A federal investigation is reportedly underway into whether Biden had the authority to stop using money already allocated by Congress for the wall.
Usurping Congress’ power
According to the Washington Examiner, the investigation, which is being pursued by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), comes at the request of Republicans who have lambasted Biden for ending Trump’s policies.
Biden is accused of usurping Congress’ power of the purse by failing to spend some $1.4 billion that Congress allocated for the wall in December.
“He was in the Congress a long time,” Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) said, according to the Examiner. “He knows it’s the Congress’ job to authorize how the money is spent and the president’s job to spend it efficiently.”
In an order that has aged rather poorly, Biden said that “the United States has a right and a duty to secure its borders and protect its people against threats,” but that building a wall is “a waste of money that diverts attention from genuine threats to our homeland security,” as Fox News reported.
Speaking of “waste,” the Biden administration is spending $6 million a day to not build the wall, a pause it calls “necessary and responsible” for “prudent management of federal funds,” the Examiner reports.
A decadent controversy
The GAO decided that Trump’s freeze on military aid to Ukraine — remember that? — was illegal, so this one should be a no-brainer. The Biden administration insists it’s different this time, though, because Biden announced the freeze by presidential proclamation. (But more importantly, Biden’s in charge, not Trump.)
Biden received some finger-wagging from a watchdog in a Politico article, but the outlet notes that he is “unlikely to face any formal punishment.”
This is, really, a decadent legal controversy. The sitting president is fighting to leave the border unguarded in the middle of an immigration crisis that he caused.
With the 60-day pause technically over, the Biden administration has not decided what to do with the money, as the Examiner notes, but it would make sense for him to spend it as allocated and protect the country.
Practically speaking, a toothless federal probe is not going to stop migrants from pouring in with Biden’s sanction. Republicans will have to find other ways of making a difference, like rejecting Biden’s proposals for amnesty. It would certainly be a start.