Texas congressmen urge U.S. Treasury to protect COVID funds from border wall

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During the campaign, President-elect Joe Biden said his administration would not build another mile of barrier on the Texas-Mexico border should he win. Credit: Callie Richmond for The Texas Tribune

HARLINGEN, Texas (KVEO) — U.S. Representative Lloyd Doggett led all Democratic members of the Texas delegation in an effort to urge Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen to protect Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Funds.

The Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Funds are made available for Texas under the American Rescue Plan.

“With no Republican support, we approved $350 billion in the American Rescue Plan for eligible state, local, territorial, and Tribal governments to assist local leaders, who confronted pandemic challenges, and to assist with economic and job recovery,” the members wrote in their letter.

The Democratic members urged Yellen to ensure that Governor Abbott could not redirect funds towards the border wall.

“We are concerned by the prospect of Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s potential misuse of these funds to continue the misguided plans of President Trump to extend a wall along the border between Texas and Mexico,” members wrote in their letter.

Governor Abbott announced that $250 million would be taken from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice as a “down payment” for the wall.

However, as of last Wednesday Abbott has reported raising only $459,000 in private donations for the wall.

“He has failed to raise enough money to construct more than a few yards. Just as he unsuccessfully tried to steal federal education money from our schools, Governor Abbott may try to divert federal recovery funds from Texans to educate voters that he’s a mini-Trump on the wall,” said Congressman Doggett. 

Additionally, the members wrote on the clear directive of the funds with a statement on their standings on the wall.

“Given the clear statutory directive to use these funds to respond to the pandemic, there is no justification for the use of Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Funds to construct a border wall,” members wrote in their letter. “There never has been and never will be a constructive purpose served by Trump’s ideologically motivated, wasteful, destructive wall. We urge the Department of Treasury to make clear in the interim final rule that these Recovery Funds cannot be used for a border wall, fence, or similar installation.”

To read the full letter click here.

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