solution to America’s Border Wall is hiding in plain sight.
of fighting what may be a losing battle with Congress, President
Trump should trigger a well-established, legal, and proven good
management practice of “reallocating unused federal funds” to
build America’s Border Wall.
it will take to complete the next phase of the Border Wall is the
stroke of President Trump’s pen and a push of a button from the
Office of Management and Budget (OMB).
simple solution is mining “unobligated balances” throughout the
year funds are allocated for federal projects and programs based on
estimates. Congress adds money when those estimates fall short, even
if caused by waste and fraud. Funds sit idle when spending is less
face this situation all the time. You take cash to buy fast food and
have change left over. That change ends up in a coin jar. A family
member eventually takes the coin jar to a bank or Coinstar to turn
pennies, dimes, nickels, and quarters into easier spent dollars.
since Lyndon Johnson, have funded their priorities mining these
unobligated balances through the mechanism of a “budget sweep”.
The President authorizes the Director of OMB to request Executive
Branch Departments and Agencies to return unobligated and unexpended
funds back to the Treasury.
funded his Great Society and the Vietnam War with the billions in
“loose change” lying around Executive Branch Agencies. Nixon
funded the Vietnam War. Carter funded expanding domestic programs.
Reagan brought down the Soviet Empire. The Bushes fought their Iraq
wars. Clinton juggled funds to stay within Republican Congressional
something changed. During his eight years in office, President Obama
allowed $914.8 billion in unexpended, unobligated, funds to pile-up
across the federal government. He never did a budget sweep. This
number continues to climb under President Trump, who has also not
authorized a budget sweep.
unobligated funds are dutifully reported under “Assets and Balance
Sheets” of the federal budget released each year by the Office of
Management and Budget. These funds are documented, in detail, in
every Department and Agency budget under the accounting code “1941”.
For the current fiscal year, there is over $150 billion in “1941”
unexpended, unobligated balances in the Defense Department alone.
additional $1.028 trillion remains unexpended among general accounts,
and $461 billion remains unspent in trust funds. While these funds
are technically obligated, the fact that they languish for years
raises questions about their use, management, and relevance.
is, therefore, a total of $2.651 trillion in existing Executive
Branch funds potentially available for immediate reallocation.
June 2012, to his eternal credit, former Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn
issued a blistering report, “Money for Nothing” that exposed
these funds for the first time. Unfortunately, not even conservative
media covered it.
Coburn documented this in his “Money for Nothing” report:
total, the federal government is projected to end fiscal 2012 with
more than $2 trillion in unexpended funds that will be carried over
to next year, according to the White House Office of Management and
Budget. While more than two-thirds of this amount is obligated for
specific purposes, $687 billion remains unobligated, meaning it is
essentially money for nothing."
existence, processes, and uses of unexpended, unobligated funds were
reported by the few conservatives among Trump’s Transition Team, to
no avail. OMB officials were given detailed 1941 account spread
sheets, as were several Cabinet Secretaries and their staffs. Nothing
must take control of the Border Wall project with processes and funds
that already exist and are in plain sight.