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Katko Statement on GAO Decision on Biden’s Suspension of the Border Wall

June 15, 2021

Katko Statement on GAO Decision on Biden’s Suspension of the Border Wall

WASHINGTON, DC – Rep. John Katko (R-NY), Ranking Member of the House Committee on Homeland Security, released the following statement on the Government Accountability Office (GAO) decision regarding President Biden’s suspension of border wall construction. In March, Katko led the push in the House of Representatives for an investigation into the suspension.

“With illegal crossings at record levels, GAO’s decision today is a blow to efforts to protect our sovereign borders and secure our homeland. With each passing day, the crisis at the southwest border becomes more dangerous and difficult to address. Most concerning, this decision poses serious questions about an administration’s ability to disregard bipartisan Congressional authority on appropriations funding. While the Administration claims it is only temporarily pausing border wall construction for environmental and other reviews, the Biden Administration has been crystal clear that it has no intention of resuming construction on a border wall system at any point. In fact, the President’s Budget Request asks Congress to cancel these already appropriated funds. Not only is this a weak border security policy but the suspension alone is costing the American taxpayer tens of millions of dollars.

“To be clear, this will not be the final ruling on the matter. Congress and the American people are well aware of the full intent behind President Biden’s action. We will continue our robust oversight, along with GAO, to ensure that these taxpayer funds are being spent in accordance with congressional intent. The Administration can’t trick GAO with a ‘pause’ in perpetuity. At some point, there will indeed be a moment of well-deserved reckoning for their flaunting of intent behind existing appropriations.

“While at the southwest border, I heard over again from our frontline law enforcement on the ground that the border wall worked. If the Biden Administration is going to unilaterally divert bipartisan funds already appropriated by Congress for certain projects, it helps to see the situation firsthand and understand the widespread impact these decisions will have. If President Biden and Vice President Harris actually went to the border, instead of engaging in politically-motivated games, they would see that for themselves and hear from our overwhelmed law enforcement and border patrol agents on the ground. As always, Homeland Security Republicans remain committed to the men and women on the frontlines and will continue advocating for the resources and tools they need to combat the crisis at the southwest border.”