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Former OMB head says Biden admin would violate law by not spending appropriated funds on border wall

"They are taking money that was appropriated by Congress and they are essentially saying that 'We have no intention of spending it as it was appropriated by Congress,' and they can't do that," Vought said.

Updated: March 17, 2021 - 5:54pm

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Former Trump Office of Management and Budget Director Russell Vought indicated during an interview on The Water Cooler with host David Brody that the Biden administration would run afoul of the law if it elects not to spend money on a border barrier that was appropriated by Congress for that purpose.

"It's very troubling. They are taking money that was appropriated by Congress and they are essentially saying that 'We have no intention of spending it as it was appropriated by Congress,' and they can't do that," Vought said, noting that some senators are calling this out as a breach of the law.

"Long-term if they just decide we're not gonna spend the money that was appropriated by Congress for the wall," such a move would constitute a breach of the Impoundment Control Act which "says that you can't just impound funding," he said. "They can do a little bit of a policy review and right now they're in the midst of that policy review. They can do that. But if they say, 'We're not gonna spend this money on a border barrier,' that is unlawful."

A group of 40 GOP senators in a letter to Government Accountability Office Comptroller General Gene Dodaro state that they think Biden has violated the Impoundment Control Act.

President Biden issued a proclamation on Jan. 20 that called for pausing "each construction project on the southern border wall, to the extent permitted by law" and said that the pause would "apply to wall projects funded by redirected funds as well as wall projects funded by direct appropriations."

The proclamation includes a section calling for the creation of "a plan for the redirection of funds concerning the southern border wall, as appropriate and consistent with applicable law. The process of developing the plan shall include consideration of terminating or repurposing contracts with private contractors engaged in wall construction, while providing for the expenditure of any funds that the Congress expressly appropriated for wall construction, consistent with their appropriated purpose," the proclamation states.
 

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