Biden under fire for border wall cash freeze

On his first day in office, Biden hit pause on billions of dollars set to be spent on his predecessor’s long-touted barrier between the U.S. and Mexico while his administration figured out next steps for the money. Now the Government Accountability Office is launching a review to determine whether the new president broke the law by freezing the money in violation of budget rules designed to keep Congress in control of the cash flow, the federal watchdog confirmed this week.

An unfavorable ruling from GAO would bolster Republicans in branding Biden as a rule-breaker as they blame him for the surge of migrants and unaccompanied children at the southern border. The pause on spending “directly contributed” to that flood of border crossers, Senate Republicans said in their plea last week for GAO to opine on the issue. More than 70 House Republicans followed Tuesday in asking for a GAO opinion, which the watchdog typically provides whenever a member of Congress requests one…

Even if GAO decides Biden has illegally halted border wall funding, he is unlikely to face any formal punishment, particularly not the blowback and impeachment Trump went through after the former president halted Ukraine aid without Congress’s say-so. The White House also notes that Biden’s hold differs in several key ways from Trump’s move to lock up the foreign assistance, which GAO deemed illegal last year.