Officials with the Department of Defense (DoD) are reportedly being forced to shell out close to $130,000 per day to store and guard materials slated for use on the border wall which has wound up sitting in storage.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) informed the members of the Senate Armed Services Committee that the previous cancelation of the border wall contracts by the Biden administration in 2021 “left a variety of excess materials” and the “total costs to store, maintain, and secure all the materials across all sites is estimated to be approximately $130,000 per day,” as reported by Fox News.
“Some of these materials, to include security cameras, overhead lights, and electrical and stormwater materials are being disposed of in accordance with federal excess material disposal laws and regulations,” the USACE went on to state. “Overall, 61% of non-bollard panel materials, and 4% of bollard panel materials have been transferred to other government agencies or disposed of through the DLA [Defense Logistics Agency] disposition process. The total value of these materials is estimated at approximately $300 million. However, the cost to the government cannot be finalized until audits are completed and negotiations with contractors are concluded.”
Former President Donald Trump put the act of building the wall along the border between the United States and Mexico a primary campaign priority in 2016. Once he made it to the office, Trump’s administration appropriated about $15 billion to create what was estimated to be 458 miles of the barrier at the end of his four years in the Oval Office.
The very first day that President Joe Biden held office, he elected to sign a proclamation to put a “pause” on the construction project.
Republicans which were seated on the Senate Armed Services Committee under the leadership of ranking member Roger Wicker (R-MS), sent out a letter addressed to head DoD officials this past week stating that they “are disturbed to learn the Department of Defense is paying private landowners to store border wall materials procured under the Trump Administration instead of fortifying the southern border with those materials.”
The GOP-aligned senators called on the members of the DoD to “pursue all possible avenues to sponsor or endorse the reuse of excess Department of Defense property, including further transfer to states.” The Republicans also put forth a laundry list of questions aimed at Melissa Dalton, the assistant secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and Hemispheric Affairs, which included a request for additional details regarding the contracts in place for the storage and maintenance of the stashed border wall materials that they estimated sits at a cost of almost $47 million from the previous year.
“The Department of Defense should not be incurring these daily charges but should be using these funds to bolster national security,” concluded the GOP senators.