Iowa Republican Sen. Joni Ernst introduced a new bill on Tuesday that would allow border states to obtain unused materials to construct a border wall.
The BUILD IT Act would allow the materials to be used by states like Arizona and Texas to construct their own barriers along the nation’s southern border.
“We are witnessing a crisis of historic proportions at our Southern border under the Biden administration. President Biden’s refusal to take action at the border has been a disaster, but his decision to cancel border barrier projects that were already underway is literally costing taxpayers billions,” Ernst said in a statement.
“Here’s a simple solution, Mr. President: let’s put these materials to use, let’s end the taxpayer-funded waste, let’s stop the unprecedented flow of illegal migrants, and let’s build it!” she added.
Ernst also addressed the new legislation with reporters on Tuesday.
“Taxpayers have already paid $350 million for the concrete, steel, and fencing that is now sitting idle. Why not let states who want to build the wall access these unused materials?” Ernst told reporters.
“That’s right folks, taxpayers are being billed to protect piles of rusting materials,” she added.
Fellow Iowa Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley also added his support to Ernst’s effort in a statement on Tuesday.
“President Biden has made a laundry list of irresponsible policy decisions that have led to complete chaos at our southern border, including his decision to halt construction of the border wall. This has not only cost taxpayers safety and security, but it’s also costing them nearly $3 million per day,” Grassley said.
“We are a welcoming nation, but a country without a border isn’t a country. Our bill will allow states to take an important step toward fixing this unprecedented border crisis by continuing construction of a border wall,” he added.
The BUILD IT Act has the support of the Federation for American Immigration Reform and is also co-sponsored by Sens. Ted Cruz (TX), Rick Scott (FL) Roger Marshall (KS), and Steve Daines (MT).
President Joe Biden signed an executive order on his first day in office to stop construction on the border wall. Since that time, the federal government has reportedly been paying contractors more than $3 million per day to protect the unused materials, according to data from the Minority Staff of the Government Operations and Border Management.
According to Grassley’s statement, roughly one-quarter of a billion dollars in taxpayer-funded materials are sitting on the southern border.
In February, Texas obtained 1,700 panels originally designed for the Trump border wall to use in Republican Gov. Greg Abbott’s effort to “secure the border.”
“After Biden halted construction of Trump’s border wall hundreds of unused wall panels were left at construction sites,” Abbott tweeted.
“Texas has obtained 1,700 of those unused panels to help build the wall,” he added. “They had been declared surplus–now they secure the border.”
After Biden halted construction of Trump’s border wall hundreds of unused wall panels were left at construction sites.
Texas has obtained 1,700 of those unused panels to help build the wall.
They had been declared surplus–now they secure the border.https://t.co/qWkexB3pP4
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) February 16, 2022
Abbott previously announced in December that Texas is building its “own border wall”.
“Biden allows open border policies and refuses to enforce laws passed by Congress to secure the border and enforce immigration laws,” Abbott tweeted. “Texas is stepping up to do the federal government’s job.”