Sunday, February 23, 2020

GET IT DONE: To reach Trump's border wall construction goal, DHS waives labor & contract laws

AP Photo/Gregory Bull, File
The Department of Homeland Security announced this week it will waive labor and procurement rules to speed up construction of President Trump’s border wall, as the department rushes to build as much as possible before Mr. Trump’s self-imposed end-of-year deadline.
The move marks an expansion for the department, which has previously waived some of the country’s most iconic environmental laws but now is moving into other areas.
“It allows to us speed up a lot of our contracts that the Army Corps has. Anywhere from 30 to 45 to 60 days,” acting Secretary Chad F. Wolf told Fox News. “We hope that will accelerate some of the construction going on along the southwest border.”
The decision will allow the administration to faster spend the billions of dollars it has siphoned from Pentagon accounts over the last two budget years.
But it also short-circuits legal protections for taxpayers’ money, said Rep. Bennie G. Thompson, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee.
“His cronies are likely to be the beneficiaries, while we are left overpaying for border wall that doesn’t work or, as we saw recently, literally falls over,” the Mississippi Democrat said.
That was a reference to a section of the wall that toppled over in high winds. Homeland Security officials said the wall wasn’t the problem, but rather the concrete that it was set in, which was still curing.
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