Biden Nominee Tells Hagerty She Supports U.S.-Funded Border Wall—in Jordan

May 4, 2023

Notes Wall is Particularly Important in Jordan Due to Drug Smuggling Problem

WASHINGTON—United States Senator Bill Hagerty (R-TN), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, today questioned Yael Lempert, President Biden’s nominee to be U.S. Ambassador to Jordan, about the importance of government funding for border security and border walls, given that the Fiscal Year 2023 Omnibus funding law provides at least $150 million for border security for Jordan, President Biden’s Fiscal Year 2024 budget request includes $110 million for border security for Jordan, and such U.S. taxpayer dollars have funded a border wall in Jordan. Nominee Lempert admitted that U.S. taxpayer funding for border walls and border security is important and effective to protect Jordanians, particularly from drug trafficking.

Biden nominee Lempert’s statement comes as drug overdose deaths in America have surpassed 100,000 per year, most from fentanyl coming across the U.S. southern border, and as the number of illegal border crossings since President Biden took office has exceeded five million. Yet, the President’s FY2024 budget request includes zero dollars for physical infrastructure for securing the U.S. border.

“The Omnibus last year provides for at least $150 million for border security in Jordan. It’s a large amount of taxpayer dollars. And if you think about the purpose of this, it’s to provide physical security to keep people from illegally crossing into Jordan, isn’t that correct?” Hagerty asked.

“It is to provide physical security, to stop drug smugglers, to deal with the threat of Jordan’s neighbor, Syria, obviously the conflict there continues, and it’s a dangerous neighborhood,” nominee Lempert answered.

“I would think that if the funding request that’s been put in place for the coming year is the size it is, there must be a belief that this sort of funding is important and that this sort of physical security is effective. Is that correct?” Hagerty continued.

Nominee Lempert agreed. “In the Jordanian context? I do believe that that is correct, Senator.”

“Well, you’ve been very clear to talk about this in the Jordanian context. I just think it’s an important lesson for us to learn, as Americans, that we’re spending United States taxpayer dollars to support border security in a country that we’re trying to build stronger relations with. I think we ought to be learning a lesson ourselves because there’s not a penny in the President’s budget to support our own border security here,” Hagerty concluded.

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