It’s not that we expected Joe Biden to keep the border wall project going once he was ensconced in the Oval Office. It’s just amazing how many construction jobs the new president has managed to kill with a few strokes of the pen.
In an interview with Breitbart News, former U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Mark Morgan said that at least 5,000 high-paying jobs were eliminated when Biden decided to halt wall construction in one of his first executive orders upon taking office Jan. 20.
Democratic Rep. Henry Cuellar of Texas, a member of the House Appropriations Committee, officially sent word to contractors building the barrier that construction of 18- to 30-foot-tall portions of the wall in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas were being paused on Tuesday.
“This morning, as a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, I received notification that in accordance with President Biden’s executive order, all CBP contractors have now been formally notified by CBP Procurement to pause construction activities on CBP self-executed projects,” Cuellar said in a statement.
“This is a promising step in our work to halt construction of the ineffective and wasteful border wall and undo the damage that borderlands have experienced these past four years,” he said. “However, our work continues. I remain steadfast in my commitment to working with the new administration until every border wall contract is terminated and all construction crews leave our border communities.”
On Thursday, it’s worth noting, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg announced he would back Biden’s $2 trillion infrastructure plan, according to The Wall Street Journal. It’s good to see the administration isn’t concerned about not building the 350 miles of border wall that was already funded because it’s “ineffective and wasteful.” Just saying.
And sure, that infrastructure bill will create jobs, although that’ll be cold comfort to the families who are losing jobs because Biden won’t be building the wall.
“Conservatively, it’s going to cost about 5,000 jobs — construction workers — right now,” Morgan told Breitbart. “It’s going to cost them their livelihood.”
In addition to the construction jobs, it will also impact the steel companies that make the bollards used in erecting the border fencing.
This isn’t even to mention the other parts of the border wall system — lighting, surveillance equipment, road construction. They’ll be affected, too.
“Now, keep in mind, they’re going to be paid for what they produced so far,” Morgan said. “But for the 350 miles that Congress funded for construction, all that goes out the window.
“So all the work that they were counting on, you know, the money they are counting on to feed their families and pay their mortgage, all that goes out the window.”
How much money we’ll end up saving isn’t clear, but Morgan said there’s going to be plenty of money doled out for material produced but not used.
“Right now, we have about 270,000 tons of steel bollard fencing that have been produced but not put in place,” he said.
“Think about that. We are not only going to have to pay the contractors for that, but then we’re going to have to pay the additional money to either destroy it, which is unconscionable, or store it.”
And yet again, it’s not just about the bollards.
“Let’s say a ditch has been dug to lay rebar,” Morgan said. “We are actually going to have to pay the contractor to pull out the rebar and fill the ditch back in the way it was.”
“Conservatively,” he added, “we’re looking at costing taxpayers billions of dollars.”
Earlier in the month, before President Donald Trump left office and when Morgan was still CBP commissioner, Morgan told Fox News the cost to the American taxpayer would be similar.
“It’ll cost taxpayers billions of dollars, billions of dollars in settlement fees,” he said. “We’re going to walk away from areas of the wall that have already been constructed.”
Morgan said he had tried to soften the blow by contacting the incoming Biden administration about continuing work on parts of the system that weren’t part of the wall.
“There are attributes well beyond the steel and concrete that are critical — whether that’s lighting, access roads or state of the art technology that’s a part of that wall system — we’re hoping that they listen to us — that at a minimum that needs to continue,” he said.
The border wall stoppage comes days after Biden signed an executive order nixing the Keystone XL pipeline project; according to a news release from Keystone XL last year, the project was set to create 8,000 jobs this year.
In Wisconsin, a general manager at one subcontractor — Michels Corp. — said Biden’s move had cost “hundreds of guys” their jobs.
“We need to have good-paying jobs in the United States of America,” Wisconsin GOP Rep. Bryan Steil said when meeting with Michels employees last week, according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. “We need to have good-paying jobs here in Wisconsin.”
Steil added that the idea that it was being killed due to environmental concerns was “misleading to a lot of people.”
“Oil and gas is still going to be transported into the United States of America,” Steil said.
“It’s going to be done by rail, a less-efficient means of moving oil and gas, with greater risk to the environment from rail accidents. Far less safe than a pipeline.”
Both the border wall and Keystone XL pipeline were similarly totems of everything the left loathed about Republican control of the White House and Congress. Both are being eliminated by the Biden administration. And both apparently will end with thousands of jobs being lost.
The new president has said repeatedly he’s a strong believer in creating union jobs. Do you still believe that promise?
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