The Government Accountability Office sided with President Biden and ruled that nixing contracts previously put in place and repurposing money allocated towards the construction of the border wall does not violate the law. The news dealt a blow to the more than 40 Republicans who filed a lawsuit against Biden claiming his order to nix the wall violated the law.
Fox News reports:
“Further, it is clear that delays in the obligation and expenditure of Department of Homeland Security (DHS) appropriations for border fencing or barriers are programmatic delays, not impoundments and do not violate the ICA,” Shirley Jones, managing associate general counsel for appropriations law, said in a statement.
Biden had campaigned on stopping the Trump-era wall construction, of which more than 450 miles were built during the prior administration. Biden promised that “not another foot” would be built — despite warnings from Republicans and Trump officials that it could cost money to cancel contracts already in place. Additionally, they have pointed to the ongoing crisis at the southern border and claimed that the order exacerbated the issue.
The president’s actions “are also a blatant violation of federal law and infringe on Congress’ constitutional power of the purse,” they wrote. “We write regarding these actions. We believe they violated the Impoundment Control Act (ICA) as interpreted by your office, and we request your legal opinion on the matter.”
They argued that the ICA requires that Biden transmit a message to Congress “that includes the amount of budget authority proposed for deferral or rescission and the reason for the proposal.”
However, since Biden announced the end to border wall construction a number of states have considered measures to continue funding the barrier. Texas Governor Gregg Abbott has commented that the people of Texas would happily continue funding the wall after being hit hard by the border crisis.