(July 28)  Credit five Republican senators for finding a way to extend the southern border wall while saving taxpayer money rather than spending more of it.

The move comes courtesy of Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS), co-sponsored by Sens. Katie Britt (R-AL), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Joni Ernst (R-IA), and Tom Cotton (R-AR). Passed through the Senate as part of the National Defense Authorization Act, the FINISH IT Act would force the Defense Department to take millions of dollars worth of unused border wall panels and use them to, yes, extend the wall. It’s sort of embarrassing that it takes Congress to prompt the Pentagon and the Biden administration to do such an obvious thing, but it’s good to see senators doing so.

Border Wall between USA and Mexico, here under construction south of Ajo, Arizona.

Republican members of the Senate Armed Services Committee discovered that the Defense Department is spending $47 million per year just to store the unused panels. And the panels themselves cost $300 million, which is money that remains wasted as long as the panels sit in storage. The FINISH IT Act would require either that the feds extend the wall with the panels or that the panels be transferred to state governments willing to do so.

Before then-candidate Donald Trump made the wall a wedge issue and Democratic leaders irresponsibly responded by far more vociferously opposing it, there had been bipartisan consensus in Congress that some significant portions of the Mexican border would be well served by wall construction. And a bipartisan agreement led to approval in early 2019 for $1.37 billion for the wall, but in April 2021 President Joe Biden canceled already-existing contracts for the job. The FINISH IT Act effectively would reverse Biden’s ill-advised move, which is one of the many Biden policies that has led to a third consecutive year of a major crisis of illegal immigration…. [The full column is here.]


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