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The Department of Defense (DoD) reportedly spends about $130,000 a day on border wall materials that are sitting in storage.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) informed the Senate Armed Services Committee that the cancelation of the border wall contracts by the Biden administration in 2021 “left a variety of excess materials” and the “total costs to store, maintain, and secure all the materials across all sites is estimated to be approximately $130,000 per day,” according to Fox News.
“Some of these materials, to include security cameras, overhead lights, and electrical and stormwater materials are being disposed of in accordance with federal excess material disposal laws and regulations,” the USACE added. “Overall, 61% of non-bollard panel materials, and 4% of bollard panel materials have been transferred to other government agencies or disposed of through the DLA [Defense Logistics Agency] disposition process. The total value of these materials is estimated at approximately $300 million. However, the cost to the government cannot be finalized until audits are completed and negotiations with contractors are concluded.”
Former President Donald Trump made building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border a top campaign priority in 2016. Once in office, Trump’s administration appropriated about $15 billion to build an estimated 458 miles of the barrier at the end of his four years in office.
During his first day in office, President Joe Biden signed a proclamation to “pause” the construction project.
Republicans on the Senate Armed Services Committee, led by ranking member Roger Wicker (R-MS), sent a letter to a top DoD official this week saying they “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.”
The GOP senators urged the DoD to “pursue all possible avenues to sponsor or endorse the reuse of excess Department of Defense property, including further transfer to states.” The Republicans also posed a series of questions to Melissa Dalton, assistant secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and Hemispheric Affairs, including a request for details about the contracts for the storage and maintenance of the unused border wall materials that they estimated cost over $47 million in the past year.
“The Department of Defense should not be incurring these daily charges but should be using these funds to bolster national security,” the GOP senators wrote.
The Daily Wire reached out to the Pentagon for comment.
Republicans often criticize Biden for not doing more to secure the U.S.-Mexico border, not only to stop illegal crossings but also the flow of illegal drugs such as fentanyl. Border authorities encountered more than 2 million aliens in fiscal year 2022, according to federal data, a significant increase over the prior year.
Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz testified to House lawmakers on Wednesday that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) does not have operational control of the southern border, conflicting with a statement made by DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.