Mark Paoletta, who served as general counsel to the Office of Management and Budget during the Trump administration, said Thursday he’s certain President Joe Biden broke a federal law by stopping funds from being used for border wall construction.
During a hearing of the House Budget Committee, Republican Rep. Jason Smith of Missouri asked Paoletta whether the president’s controversial decision violated a 1974 law that limits a president’s power to withhold funds.
“Do you believe that the executive branch violated GAO’s standard of the Impoundment Control Act when it began withholding funds for the border wall?” Smith asked.
The White House issued a proclamation on Jan. 20 halting funding for building a barricade at the southern border, which was one of the top priorities of former President Donald Trump.
“Like every nation, the United States has a right and a duty to secure its borders and protect its people against threats,” the Biden order said. “But building a massive wall that spans the entire southern border is not a serious policy solution.
“It is a waste of money that diverts attention from genuine threats to our homeland security.”
Republican lawmakers asked the Government Accountability Office for a review to determine whether the administration violated laws that allow Congress to have control over where federal funds go, Politico reported last month.
The report said the GAO confirmed that it was investigating the matter.
The GOP lawmakers attributed Biden’s reversal of Trump policies, including the order halting border wall funding, to the ongoing crisis at the southern border.
The new administration wanted to show off immediately that it was somehow superior in its approach to border policy compared with the previous White House — but that is far from the truth.
Biden has made little to no effort to secure the border in a way that is more humane, and instead prompted a significant influx of migrants to arrive in the United States without any plans to bring it to an end.
The surge of migrants, particularly of unaccompanied minors, created a processing disaster that received bipartisan attention.
During our first Government Operations and Border Management Subcommittee hearing, we discussed the current crisis at the southern border, how we can support Arizona communities, keep Arizonans safe, and treat all migrants fairly and humanely. pic.twitter.com/JVCTVWn5Jp
— Kyrsten Sinema (@SenatorSinema) April 29, 2021
Stopping construction of the border wall has increased human and drug trafficking across our southern border.
— Republican State Leadership Committee (@RSLC) April 30, 2021
A physical wall is not a foolproof solution but serves as an effective deterrent if there is the use of technology and officers are nearby for additional support.
Paoletta’s statement about Biden potentially violating federal law is important to note given the current circumstances, and should not be taken lightly.