The ranking Republican on the House Budget Committee is pressing the Biden administration to account for how much money it is costing taxpayers in litigation and settlement costs after President Biden halted construction on the wall at the U.S.-Mexico border, canceling government contracts in the process.
Rep. Jason Smith, R-Mo., accused the Biden administration of “effectively undermin[ing] efforts to protect our southern border” by ceasing border wall construction and demanded to know what the financial impact of that decision will ultimately be. In a letter to Undersecretary of Defense Michael McCord sent Tuesday evening, Smith said that “historic levels of illegal migration to our southern border as well as a national security, humanitarian, and public health crisis” are the result of this and other administration decisions.
“It is important that the American people are aware of any costs DOD is incurring or will incur due to the resulting litigation and contract disputes that will come from the Administration’s misguided actions,” the letter said.
At a June 24 House Budget Committee hearing, McCord had agreed to provide this information, and Smith’s letter followed up on that agreement. Additionally, Smith is now asking how many contracts the Biden administration has canceled, how much more money it plans on spending to settle contracts, and for any remaining contracts if the Department of Defense is now “paying contractors to not construct a border wall along the southern border[.]”
Fox News reached out to the Department of Defense for comment but it did not immediately respond.
“President Biden’s decision to ignore the will of Congress by halting border wall construction is part of a broader failure by his administration to respond to the devastating circumstances at our southern border that are enriching violent cartels and undermining the safety and security of the America people,” Smith said in a statement. “The American people are picking up the tab for President Biden’s failed policies, and we intend to find out exactly how much this disastrous decision is costing hard working families.”
Meanwhile, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich announced Monday he is seeking an injunction against Biden’s efforts to stop border wall construction. Brnovich’s office first sued the Department of Homeland Security in April, alleging the administration has not complied with its obligations under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) when it ended border wall construction and the “Remain in Mexico” policy – which kept migrants in Mexico until their hearings were processed.
Fox News’ Adam Shaw contributed to this report.