The Federal Grant and Cooperative Agreement Act (FGCAA), passed by Congress in 1977, governs how the Federal Government handles funding that benefits states and local governments. The law was passed, in part, to address concerns about bypassing competitive processes and to provide a uniform way of handling grants. The mechanism for providing funding to a state or local government is a cooperative agreement or grant that MUST BENEFIT the recipient, not the federal government.
Our photo shows a levee wall—a concrete wall that sits atop a dirt levee. This stretch of wall and others like it in the Rio Grande Valley were funded by federal grants made to local governments. But the local governments hadn’t asked for a wall; they had asked only for certain flood improvements required by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The only funding that was available, however was for a border wall, despite the fact that many residents of the Rio Grande Valley opposed a border wall.
The flooding problem was “addressed” by building a border wall atop the dirt levee. This was bad news for the animals that used to escape floodwaters by clambering over the dirt levees—animals trying to escape floods are now trapped between the river and the levee wall. After one such flood, hundreds of Texas tortoise shells were found floating in the floodwaters in a portion of the Lower Rio Grande National Wildlife Refuge where a levee wall had been built. By the end of 2018, construction may begin on 65 more miles of this type of levee wall in Texas. Who is benefitting from this “grant?” Certainly not the recipients.
The FGCAA is one of the 48 federal laws waived to expedite the construction of a border wall (click here to see a list of all 48 laws that have been waived). The losers are the wildlife, refuges, state parks, butterfly sanctuaries, private homes, and farms that have been trapped in flood waters behind the wall, and the taxpayers, whose money is now spent in disregard of FGCAA.
Please contact your U.S. Senators and Representatives (https://www.govtrack.us/congress/members) and let them know that you oppose waiving The Federal Grant and Cooperative Agreement Act to expedite construction of a border wall. Click here if you would like to make a donation to help us fight the border wall.