Thursday, September 16, 2021

Senate rejects GOP effort to add Trump border wall to infrastructure deal

Earlier this week, the Senate rejected an attempt from GOP Senator Ron Johnson (Wis.) to tie border wall funding to the bipartisan infrastructure deal.

Senators voted 48-49 on the GOP proposal to prohibit the cancellation of border wall contracts. It needed 60 votes to be added into roughly $1 trillion infrastructure bill, which senators expect to pass as soon as this weekend.

Republicans see the border as a weak point for President Biden. Ahead of the vote, Johnson accused the administration of being in a “complete state of denial regarding the crisis that is on the border. We need to complete the … 285 miles of wall to help secure our borders, that will help secure our homeland, that will help keep Americans safe.”

Former President Trump’s decision to build a U.S.-Mexico border wall was a perennial flash point during his administration, sparking fierce Democratic backlash. Republicans also bristled over his decision to declare a “national emergency” so he could direct more funding toward the wall.

Senator Gary Peters, the chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee said, “Most of these funds were never intended for this purpose. … The Biden administration is conducting a comprehensive review of these contracts led by the Department of Defense and Homeland Security.”

The Biden administration late last month canceled two border wall contracts on the Laredo sector of the U.S.- Mexico border, saying those of wall are “not necessary to address any life, safety, environmental, or other remediation requirements.” That comes after Biden ordered a review of all resources appropriated for construction and stopped diverting Defense Department funds for the border wall. The Pentagon and the Department of Homeland Security have both reclaimed border wall funds for other projects.

The Hill