President Joe Biden's efforts to stop construction of the border wall between the United States and Mexico is costing taxpayers billions of dollars, Sen. James Lankford tells Newsmax while discussing a report he wrote outlining the expenses.
"Biden stepped in on day one and said we're going to stop all that construction," the Oklahoma Republican said on Newsmax's "Rob Schmitt Tonight" Wednesday. "Now at almost 200 days in, (because) we had contracts for all that construction, we're still paying those contractors to not do construction."
In his report, Lankford reports that in January, Department of Defense contractors in charge of overseeing wall construction had received $10 billion in taxpayer money obligated toward wall-related projects.
"By the end of June, the Biden Administration has wasted roughly 20% ($2 billion) of the $10 billion meant to build the wall to pay contractors to watch steel rust in the desert," Lankford said in his report.
Further, for the time period immediately following Biden's proclamation that he was halting the border wall construction to study it, Lankford's office found that the government is paying DOD contractors $6 million every day to not build the wall, and are paying contractors on seven project sites "$3 million per day, after numerous layoffs, to sit and watch the steel bake in the sun."
He added in his report that the Department of Homeland Security "has not provided information to Congress about the status of border wall projects funded by congressional appropriations."
The senator told Schmitt that one can't say the structure was only former President Donald Trump's wall, even though he was "clearly the one that was helping push it, direct it, and encourage it, and he was the one taking the stand to get it done."
Career civil servants, the DHS, and more looked at the situation and also determined that building a wall was the right thing to do, said Lankford.
Meanwhile, millions of dollars are being paid to "just have people sit around and watch the steel to make sure that the parts are not stolen sitting out there in the desert," Lankford told Schmitt. "I think there's an easy way to be able to protect that steal from getting stolen. It's called install it. Once it's actually installed, you're not going to actually take that steel, and it actually finishes out all the gaps that are there. In Biden's just tenacious animosity for President Trump, they're literally throwing away $2 billion that we can't get back again."
Meanwhile, Lankford, in his report, said it is "absolutely absurd that Americans are paying contractors to guard metal gates that President Biden refuses to install because he wants to 'study' the wall."
Being stubborn and refusing to spend the money that was already planned for the wall is not executing the law, he added in the report.
"It’s ignoring the law and ignoring the very real national security concerns posed by illegal entry across our very open southern border," said Lankford. "For years I have called out federal waste, but the Biden administration is literally 'going for broke' with this nonsense. Our border patrol agents are doing their best to secure our border, but they need additional barriers, roads, and technology to help keep us safe. Instead, President Biden is paying professional construction contractors to babysit metal to the tune of $2 billion and counting, while at the same time we’ve seen a 20-year high number of migrants crossing our open border."
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