Donald Trump has spent his life breaking the rules, contracts, and allegedly the law. He defaulted on a huge loan from Deutsche Bank. Then, he sued that bank and had the nerve to ask for another loan. He got it, so is it any surprise that he is plowing through federal contracting laws to build his border wall against Mexico.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) indicated that Trump would waive 10 procurement regulations according to The Associated Press (AP):
‘[For] 177 miles (283 kilometers) of the wall to be built more quickly in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas.’ The 10 waived laws include requirements for having open competition, justifying selections and receiving all bonding from a contractor before any work can begin.’
The administration noted that it will implement waivers that will let it build 94 miles (150 kilometers) of the wall this year. Earlier, Trump promised to build 450 miles of law by the 2020 presidential election, but it might be as little as an additional 83 miles (133 kilometers).
The Department of Defense (DOD) awarded the Army Corps $6.1 billion that it transferred for wall construction last year. Congress gave Trump four times that amount at one point but withdrew it during rough negotiations.
Acting Homeland Security Secretary (DHS) Chad Wolf claimed on Fox & Friends a 2005 law has given him broad authority to waive the laws for building Trump’s border barriers:
‘We hope that will accelerate some of the construction that’s going along the Southwest border.’
Thus far, Trump’s secretaries have issued 16 waivers. Compare that to President George W. Bush who issued five. However, this was the first time the waiver had been applied to federal procurement rules. Instead, they were used to waive environmental impact reviews.
DHS released a statement that read:
‘Under the president’s leadership, we are building more wall, faster than ever before.’
Democrats may take abeyance over Trump running roughshod over environmental laws. So far, legal challenges had not been working. A San Diego federal judge said that the laws were rejected, but legal challenges have failed..”
‘In 2018, a federal judge in San Diego rejected arguments by California and environmental advocacy groups that the secretary’s broad powers should have an expiration date. An appeals court upheld the ruling last year.”‘
In 2005, Congress gave the secretary the ability to waive existing laws where many illegal crossings. A package of emergency funding went the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan along with “minimum standards for state-issued identification cards.”
Senators Joe Biden, Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton approved it. The House passed the bill, too. Then-Representative Bernie Sanders voted against it, but it still passed with “strong bipartisan support; then-Rep. Bernie Sanders voted against it:”
‘The waivers, to be published in the Federal Register, apply to projects that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will award in six of nine Border Patrol sectors on the Mexican border: San Diego and El Centro in California; Yuma and Tucson in Arizona; El Paso, which spans New Mexico and west Texas, and Del Rio, Texas.’
The administration claimed that its waivers only apply to previously vetted contractors. Last May, Trump’s people said:
‘[T]he waivers will apply to contractors that have already been vetted. In May, the Army Corps named 12 companies to compete for Pentagon-funded contracts.’
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