Senators Furious After Learning Biden Admin Is Paying a Massive Daily Fee to NOT Build Border Wall
By Bryan Chai, The Western Journal
Published March 16, 2023 at 12:15pm
President Joe Biden and his administration have been spending $130,000 a day to apply the unused material for the border wall and finish the project.
No, wait. What’s that?
The Biden administration is spending $130,000 a day to … store the unused material for the border wall and never finish the project?
If that makes absolutely zero sense to you, you wouldn’t be alone in feeling that way.
In fact, a slew of Republican senators, spearheaded by Mississippi’s Roger Wicker, are demanding answers as to why nearly $50 million a year is being wasted to store these border wall materials.
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In a scathing letter dated Wednesday, Wicker and 13 other GOP senators asked Melissa Dalton, the assistant secretary of defense for homeland defense and hemispheric affairs, why six figures a day are being wasted on material storage.
They laid out the issue as clearly as possible in the opening paragraph of the letter:
“Many of us have toured the southern border, and we have seen firsthand how vulnerable this Administration’s border policies have made our nation. Today we write because we are disturbed to learn the Department of Defense is paying private landowners to store border wall materials procured under the Trump Administration instead of fortifying the southern border with those materials.”
Indeed, it’s rather inarguable that the Biden administration’s handling of the southern border has been nothing short of an unmitigated disaster — the sort of calamity the administration has failed to explain away.
Should building a secure border wall be a top national security priority?
The unchecked and steady flow of illegal immigrants into this country has created a slew of problems for Americans, ranging from fentanyl-related deaths to trespassing on private property.
And yet the Biden administration appears to be willfully exacerbating the situation, burning through money to sit on materials that, at least under a Democratic president, will likely never get used.
“At present, over 20,000 border wall sections, otherwise known as bollard panels, lie unused at 20 project sites across southern Arizona and New Mexico,” the letter continued. “Every day, the Department of Defense pays $130,000 to store, maintain, and secure these materials.”
The Republican senators then directly addressed Dalton, skewering her for her lack of oversight of this wasteful spending.
“Since you were sworn in as the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and Hemispheric Affairs a year ago, you have allowed the Department to pay over $47 million to store these panels,” the letter said.
Now $47 million is nothing to sneeze at, particularly in this economy. In fact, between the billions of taxpayer dollars going to Ukraine and the $47 million being wasted to store unused border wall materials, it feels as though, surely, one or two American issues could be addressed instead, no?
Oh, and there’s also the little matter of America’s currently fraught relationship with China and Russia.
Surely, the Department of Defense has more pressing needs on which to spend money than material storage.
“The Department of Defense should not be incurring these daily charges but should be using these funds to bolster national security,” the senators wrote. “In a highly dangerous security environment for the United States, every dollar Congress authorizes for the Department of Defense should be used effectively. This failing program clearly misses that standard.”
Wicker and his colleagues ultimately distilled their concerns down to three key requests for Dalton:
First, the Republicans wanted to see the DoD’s “internal correspondence that informed the decision to forgo the Department of Defense Excess Property Disposal process and instead pay $130,000 per day to store border wall panels.”
Second, the letter requests a “list of the individuals and/or entities the Department of Defense is paying for use of their privately-owned land to store the unused border materials.”
Finally, the senators wanted an “explanation of the process through which the Department of Defense contracted with private landowners to store the unused border materials, including whether there was a competitive contracting process and whether the landowners have instituted an inventory review system.”
Wicker was able to get some powerful GOP names to sign onto this letter, including Texas Sens. Ted Cruz and John Cornyn.
And indeed, it might take some heavy hitters to make any meaningful change here.
Because if there’s one thing at which the Biden administration has proved to be exceptional, it’s wasting taxpayers’ money. This latest debacle involving the world’s most expensive game of public storage is just further proof of that.