Filemon Vela

Representing the 34 District of Texas

GAO Report: Trump's Wall Set to Waste Billions, Provide No Measurable Benefit

August 6, 2018
Press Release

August 6, 2018 (WASHINGTON) – Today, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Ranking Member of the Committee on Homeland Security, and Rep. Filemon Vela (D-TX), Ranking Member of the Border and Maritime Security Subcommittee, announced the release of a new U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) report they requested on President Trump’s completely unnecessary and wasteful border wall. 

In the report, entitled “Southwest Border Security: CBP Is Evaluating Designs and Locations for Border Barriers but Is Proceeding Without Key Information” GAO found that CBP selected locations for new construction before assessing which areas along the southern border should be prioritized and without full cost estimates.  GAO also found that CBP continues to move construction projects forward while still not having metrics in place to gauge effectiveness. In this rush, GAO argues that DHS may end up paying way more than anticipated, potentially wasting billions without anything to show for it. CBP also did not follow required DHS planning and acquisition protocols.

Congressman Thompson released the following statement on the report:

"This report exposes what we have suspected would happen for over a year. The Trump Administration, fixated on campaign promises no matter the cost or consequences, is rushing the construction of the President's completely unnecessary border ‘wall’.  In moving too fast, they have ignored necessary and established acquisitions protocols and plan to build a multi-billion dollar border wall where their own analysis shows it is not a priority.  To be blunt, this Administration has no clue what it is doing and must be held accountable. Since DHS picked locations for the President's wall before taking into account effectiveness or cost, any more spending on Trump's wall would be a giant waste of taxpayer money and may not provide any measurable security benefit.  At this point, spending billions on the President's wall is just a gift to contractors and the President's political base. While we may surmise that politics played a role in how the Administration decided where to build the President's wall, we now know for certain that effectiveness and considering the full range of costs were not part of the decision-making process. I urge my colleagues to read this report before allowing another dime be spent on the President's pet project and costly boondoggle. Democrats have and continue to support proven border security projects, but we will not sit idly by while billions of American taxpayer dollars to be thrown down the toilet."

Congressman Vela added the following statement:

“The report shows us what we already knew. The Trump Administration put almost zero thought into the construction of this wall other than how it will play in the news cycle. The GAO found that DHS is planning to spend billions of taxpayer dollars without key information about cost and effectiveness.  Simply put, the White House has not done their homework; they are gambling taxpayer money while operating on incomplete information. This irresponsible waste is unacceptable and a complete disgrace.”