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Val Demings wants her committee in Congress to oversee ‘The Wall’

As President Donald Trump moves forward on his plans to build a massive, potentially $25 billion wall along the Mexico border, U.S. Rep. Val Demings wants assurance that Congress will have some oversight of the project.

It’s possible that Trump could build the wall through executive order and by cobbling together funds in existing programs without ever going to Congress.

So Wednesday Demings introduced an amendment to the oversight plan of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform that could give that committee some control, regardless of how the president wants to do the wall.

Demings, an Orlando Democrat, is a member of that committee. She is also a ranking member on that committee’s Subcommittee on Intergovernmental Affairs.

Her amendment would give the committee control to examine costs associated with construction, maintenance, increased surveillance, environmental effects, and compensation for affected property owners as well as look at the effectiveness and source of funding for the wall.

The amendment would also have given the committee control to examine the contracting and subcontracting process, total cost estimates and expenditures for the project, and the sources of any funding used or reprogrammed for these purposes to ensure that they comply with all applicable laws and regulations.

“The truth of the matter is that no one can tell us exactly how much it will cost taxpayers because we haven’t seen reliable cost estimates, which is why it is imperative that it be included in our Oversight Plan,” Demings stated in a news release issued by her office.

Demings contended that both Republicans and Democrats in Congress are uncomfortable at least with the uncertainties. She’s not a fan of the wall or Trump’s early relationship with Mexico.

“The order and the president’s recent proclamations have sent our foreign relations with Mexico, one of our largest trading partners, into a tailspin,” she stated. “Demanding that Mexico pay for a wall — when it appears ever more likely that the American taxpayer or consumer will pay — appears to be counterproductive and may spark a trade war that will only hurt American businesses and consumers.”

Written By

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at scott@floridapolitics.com.

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