The Government Accountability Office is investigating President Biden's order to halt funding for the U.S.-Mexico border wall, probing whether the move is illegal because it freezes funds controlled by Congress.
"The Biden administration has to be really careful about doing stuff like this because, otherwise, they’re just going to be doing the exact thing the Trump administration did – just at the other end of the policy spectrum," Dylan Hedtler-Gaudette of the watchdog group Project on Government Oversight, told The Hill newspaper about the purported GAO probe.
On his first day in office, Biden froze billions of dollars that had been appropriated by Congress for President Trump to build and repair the southern border barrier.
The 60-day freeze has now expired, and even while it was on, the federal government paid out $6 million "for rental expenses or cost of ownership while their equipment sits idle," The Washington Examiner reported.
An unfavorable ruling by the GAO would bolster Republicans in branding Biden as a rule-breaker, as they also blame him for the surge of migrants and unaccompanied children at the southern border. Politico reported.
Senate Republicans said in their plea last week for GAO to address the issue that the pause on spending "directly" contributed to that flood of border crossers, the news outlet also reports.
More than 70 House Republicans followed Tuesday in asking for a GAO opinion, which the watchdog group typically provides whenever a member of Congress requests one."
Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt, chairman of the Senate Republican Policy Committee, told Politico that Biden should know better.
"He was in the Congress a long time,” Blunt said. "He knows it’s the Congress' job to authorize how the money is spent and the president's job to spend it efficiently."
Hedtler-Gaudette, who thinks the wall is "a waste of money," still said it's Congress' decision, not the president's.
“A lot of us agree that the border wall was a very stupid idea, a waste of money, but Congress decided to waste the money on that,” he said. “The way to address that is not to have the executive branch override the legislative branch.”