Biden administration will return $2 billion to military projects that had been set aside for border wall construction

In one in every of his first actions in workplace, President Joe Biden ordered a pause on wall construction and referred to as for a assessment of projects and funds. Friday’s announcement builds on the Biden administration’s determination to cancel all contracts for wall construction on the US-Mexico border that used funds initially meant for military missions and capabilities.

The administration is now taking steps to ship again billions’ price of funds to the Pentagon, so that they can be utilized for their preliminary function. That consists of returning military construction funds to 66 beforehand deferred projects in 11 states, 3 territories, and 16 international locations.

The transfer, in accordance to the OMB, will restore funds for on-base faculties, hangars, housing, and services, together with greater than $10 million for the missile area enlargement at Fort Greely in Alaska and $79 million for an elementary faculty for US military youngsters in Germany.

The Biden administration’s determination to halt construction has attracted criticism from Republicans, together with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott. During a Border Security Summit in Del Rio, Texas, Thursday, Abbott introduced an initiative to build barriers alongside the Texas-Mexico border.

Since 2019, greater than 340 miles have been inbuilt a number of places alongside the border utilizing Pentagon funds, in accordance to US Customs and Border Protection. And roughly 52 miles have been constructed the place no barrier beforehand existed. Some wall segments value up to $46 million per mile, in accordance to OMB.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announces plan to build border wall and arrest migrantsTexas Gov. Greg Abbott announces plan to build border wall and arrest migrants

“Building a massive wall that spans the entire southern border and costs American taxpayers billions of dollars is not a serious policy solution or responsible use of Federal funds. Most contraband is likely to come through legal ports of entry. And many families fleeing the violence in Central America are voluntarily presenting themselves to border patrol officials,” OMB mentioned in its reality sheet, outlining the announcement.

The US Army Corps of Engineers is within the technique of canceling 20 contracts for construction of the southern border wall, their commanding normal testified to Congress this week.

“We have 20 contracts that we’ve terminated for the government’s convenience. And we’re in negotiations now with each of those 20 vendors to work through what those final bills will be,” Lt. Gen. Scott Spellmon testified at a price range listening to with the Senate Appropriations Energy and Water Development subcommittee.

The Department of Homeland Security, in the meantime, is utilizing appropriated funds to tackle environmental points stemming from the Trump administration’s wall construction, in addition to for construction clear up. The division can also be reviewing the standing of land seizure instances for wall construction, in addition to land acquired in earlier years, to assess whether or not these properties are nonetheless essential. “If DHS determines it no longer requires the use of such land, it will work to return the land to its prior owners,” in accordance to OMB.

Biden’s fiscal yr 2022 price range included over $1 billion for border infrastructure, like know-how, however no extra funding for border wall construction.


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