Former President Donald Trump’s signature border wall project would lose much of its funding under a Biden administration plan announced Friday.
President Joe Biden suspended construction of the wall upon taking office while his administration reviewed the project.
That angered Republicans in Congress eager to see it go forward amid a surge in illegal migration along the southwest border.
The new plan does not cancel the wall project outright, but it is still likely to face opposition in Congress.
The plan returns more than $2 billion that the Trump administration diverted from the Pentagon to help pay for the wall and uses other money appropriated by Congress to address “urgent life, safety, and environmental issues” created by the construction.
It also asks lawmakers not to provide any additional funding for the wall.
“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,” the Office of Management and Budget said in a statement outlining the plan.
The government has built walls and other barriers along the 2,000-mile U.S.-Mexico border for decades to eliminate some of the easier routes used to avoid checkpoints.
The Trump administration built about 450 miles of wall.
Biden’s decision to suspend construction prompted Republican senators to ask the Government Accountability Office to investigate whether the administration was violating federal law in not using appropriated money for its intended purpose.
The administration said Friday that it will use funds already set aside by Congress for “their appropriated purpose, as required by law” but is requesting no new money for wall construction in the Department of Homeland Security’s 2022 budget.
Biden is instead seeking money for increased technology at the ports of entry and elsewhere, saying there are more efficient ways to stop illegal immigration and drug smuggling at the border.
The administration said it would return $2 billion taken from the Pentagon and use it for the construction projects for which the money was originally intended.
That includes $79 million for an elementary school for the children of American service members in Germany; $25 million for a fire and rescue station at Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida; and $10 million to expand defenses against North Korean ballistic missiles at Fort Greely in Alaska.
It plans to use the approximately $1.9 million remaining appropriated by Congress for the wall for drainage and erosion control or other environmental problems it says were caused by wall construction in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas and elsewhere.
The Western Journal has reviewed this Associated Press story and may have altered it prior to publication to ensure that it meets our editorial standards.
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