Dozens of Republican lawmakers alleged this week that President Biden’s freeze on the border wall construction goes against federal law.
Senator Shelley Moore Capito, joined by 39 Republican senators, penned a letter to the Government Accountability Office asking for an opinion on President Biden’s executive order to stop funding for the border wall. The senators claim this order violated the Impoundment Control Act, which prevents the executive branch from blocking congressional funding, and led to the border crisis we are now seeing.
“As these illegal stops have continued, the rate of crossings has gone up, creating a border crisis with terrible consequences” the West Virginia senator said. “Meanwhile, billions in lawfully approved dollars, which were given by lawmakers to deal with this problem, sit unused by the Biden White House.”
The only legal reason to stop funds would be if President Biden proposes a rescission or deferral, according to the letter. This would end in funds being held until a later time, cancelled, or having less money than was given.
In either situation the president must give a cause for the decision, according to the letter.
Biden can only defer money to give contingencies, save money through more efficient operations, or as provided by law, and for issues connected to fiscal policy.
The letter says that Biden “bemoans” the building of the wall saying it is “not a real solution” and “a waste of funds.” The senators say he cannot block funds because he disagrees with the wall.
“It is President Biden’s right to levy criticisms, and he can propose budgets to advance his alternative approach,” the letter reads. “But he may not unilaterally stop funding given by Congress using enacted appropriation laws.”
Congress approved the $1.4 billion in wall funding as a part of President Trump’s $900 billion coronavirus stimulus package.