Shelby, Capito Statement on GAO Decision Regarding Biden's Freeze of Wall Funding Amid Border Crisis

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senate Appropriations Committee Vice Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) and Senate Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee Ranking Member Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) released the below joint statement following the Government Accountability Office (GAO) ruling on President Joe Biden’s suspension of border wall funding and construction.  Today’s decision follows a request—initiated by Ranking Member Capito—in March for a ruling from the GAO on the administration’s unprecedented move to freeze border wall funding.


“GAO’s decision today makes clear that there are two sets of rules when it comes to executing funds appropriated by Congress: one for Democrat administrations and one for Republican administrations.  The decision splits hairs to justify actions that, just two years ago, were determined to be contrary to ‘the faithful execution of the law.’  While disappointing, GAO’s decision does not change two critical facts: (1) there is a crisis on the southern border and it is getting worse; and (2) Congress—on a bipartisan basis—appropriated funding to build a wall, which the U.S. Border Patrol has long said is needed to help stop illegal immigration.  We hope our colleagues in Congress recognize this overreach by the executive branch and don’t excuse it just because they are in the same political party.


“Since President Biden issued his illegal proclamation the day he was inaugurated, 633,342 illegal immigrants have been caught crossing the border; 87,674 have been released into the interior of our country, many never to be heard from again; and untold others have entered undetected. Just two weeks ago, we learned that another border sector is so overwhelmed that it is releasing illegal immigrants without a notice to appear in immigration court.  Already this fiscal year, U.S. Border Patrol has encountered nearly three times as many convicted criminal aliens on the Southwest Border compared to last year.  That’s not to mention the amount of drugs that may have been smuggled into our country.  Migrants, responding to the President’s open-borders policies, are increasingly coming from all over the world, not just to Mexico and Central America.


“This entirely avoidable crisis situation at the border is only getting worse.  The Biden Administration has the means to end this crisis, but it chooses not to do so.  That’s unfortunate for both our citizens and the rule of law.”


On March 17, 2021, Ranking Member Capito led a letter to GAO Comptroller Gene L. Dodaro highlighting President Biden’s suspension of border wall funding and construction.  The letter was supported by more than 100 Senate and House members, including Vice Chairman Shelby.


Additionally, Vice Chairman Shelby and Ranking Member Capito responded to the Administration’s claims with a letter to GAO Comptroller Gene L. Dodaro on May 12, 2021, to supplement the record with evidence.