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Senators: Fed watchdog ruling Biden didn't break law in halting wall funding shows Dems favored

The Government Accounting Office previously ruled President Trump's freezing of funds to Ukraine was illegal.

Updated: June 16, 2021 - 10:51am

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A federal watchdog group says President Biden did not violate federal laws when he stopped congressional funding for the construction of the U.S.-Mexico border wall – sparking two Senate Republicans to say the decision unfairly favors Democrats.

The legal opinion was issue Tuesday by the Government Accountability Office, a federal government's auditing and investigative agency, following Biden's decision on his first day in office to stop the funding made possible by former President Trump.

The GAO said Biden's freezing of money was a "programmatic delay," not an illegal stoppage of congressional money, according to Politico.

"We conclude that delays in the obligation and expenditure of [the Department of Homeland Security's] appropriations are programmatic delays, not impoundments," the office's statement reads.

The office also concluded Biden's actions are not comparable to Trump's when in 2019 he froze military assistance to Ukraine, which the office deemed illegal. 

"Because the delay here is precipitated by legal requirements, the delay is distinguishable from the withholding of Ukraine security assistance funds," the statement reads.

Republican Sens. Richard Shelby and Shelley Moore Capito said Tuesday in a joint statement the GAO's decision favored Democrats over Republicans, comparing its rulings on Trump's Ukraine and Biden's border wall actions.

"GAO's decision today makes clear that there are two sets of rules when it comes to executing funds appropriated by Congress," their statement reads. "One for Democrat administrations and one for Republican administrations."

The Biden administration last week said it would return the money to the wall project.