Democratic Spin on Border Security Funds

Published Jan 4, 2019. By Lori Robertson.

Democrats say the Trump administration is asking for more money for a border wall even though it has spent only 6 percent of the funds that Congress has appropriated for border security over the past two years. That’s misleading. About 60 percent has been awarded to contracts. . . . 

In fact, the 2018 appropriations bill was belatedly signed into law on March 23, 2018 — that’s nearly six months after fiscal 2018 started on Oct. 1, 2017.

Joshua Gordon, policy director at The Concord Coalition, a nonpartisan organization that advocates fiscal responsibility, told us this is one of the problems with the budgeting process. Agencies face difficulties when there are continuing resolutions and late passage of appropriations bills, “sometimes so late in the fiscal year, it’s almost impossible to get things done in that fiscal year.”

Gordon says while The Concord Coalition primarily looks at outlays — which occur when the checks from the government actually clear — in this mini-controversy, the contracted amount “makes the most sense as a measuring stick.”

One “piece of irony,” he notes, is that “it seems like the government shutdown is actually going to hamper the ability to get some of these contracts done.”