Reports indicate that President Biden’s administration has been covertly auctioning off wall materials to fulfill his promise not to construct “another foot” of former president Donald Trump’s iconic border wall.
In an effort to secure the country’s southern border and reduce the number of illegal immigrants entering the country, former President Trump had nearly 450 miles of new wall built during his presidency.
President Trump famously redirected some Pentagon funds to help pay for the wall construction in the face of funding challenges.
In contrast, Biden has expressed skepticism toward his predecessor’s grand barrier, declaring while still a presidential contender that not a single foot of wall will be constructed under his leadership.
On his first day in office, President Biden revoked the national emergency declaration that President Trump had used to redirect almost $10 billion from Pentagon coffers to fund the building of a border wall.
President Biden declared it would be his Administration’s policy that no more American taxpayer dollars be diverted to construct a border wall.
More evidence that Biden meant what he said when he vetoed wall construction comes from reports that the Defence Logistical Agency (DLA), the DOD’s combat logistical support agency, is disposing of elements of the border wall.
A DLA representative has confirmed that some goods now offered for auction on GovPlanet are surplus border wall supplies transferred to the DLA for disposal from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
The items on the auction site are generically listed as “steel tubing and sticks for industrial construction,” with others labeled as “square structural tubes.”
According to Pentagon spokesperson Raini Brunson, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is handling the disposal of the unused border wall materials in compliance with the Federal Acquisition Regulation.
More than eighty components of steel square structural tubes, destined for use as vertical parts of the border wall’s panels, have been auctioned through the online auctioneer since April. Another 13 lots are scheduled to go on auction on August 23 and August 30, according to GovPlanet.
Neither the DLA nor the DOD responded to a query for comment.
Republican lawmakers, who have been harsh in their criticism of President Biden on the issue of border security, presented a bill in May requiring the Pentagon to approve the use of millions of dollars worth of unused components to extend the wall along the southern border.
The legislation, titled ‘Finish It Act,’ would mandate the deployment of the materials or their transfer to states, who then use them to build the wall.
The Armed Services Committee investigated and found that the Pentagon was spending $47 million a year to store the wall panels and other materials, prompting the legislative proposal (pdf).
The bill’s proponent, Republican Mississippi Senator Roger Wicker, claimed in May that President Biden couldn’t have made the situation at the border any worse if he tried. Despite this, Biden remains an impediment to progress.
The Biden administration, Wicker added, is causing the Department of Defence to waste millions of dollars annually on unused border panels that might be used to defend the border, as was discovered by Senate Republicans earlier this year.
“It is time for Biden to put these materials to use and finish the wall,” Wicker said.
Wicker has blasted the Biden administration’s alleged behind-the-scenes efforts to sell off border wall components so that they can be utilized to stop construction rather than continue building more of the border wall.
Wicker told The New York Post that the Biden administration’s choice to sell was a laughable display of their lack of morals.
Republican senator from Arkansas and proponent of the Finish It Act who has been critical of President Biden’s border policy, Tom Cotton, was scathing in his assessment of the situation, calling it “a fire sale.”
In an interview with The Post, Cotton labeled Biden leaving the border open to terrorists while selling border security materials at a loss as “Bidenomics.”
It is unknown how much revenue the materials’ sale has brought into the Pentagon’s coffers.
Lt. Col. Devin T. Robinson told The Post that out of a total stockpile valued over $260 million, USACE had disposed of approximately $154 million worth of materials for the border wall.