Biden sells border wall parts to thwart GOP push to use them
Aug 11, 2023
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The Biden administration is quietly auctioning off millions of dollars’ worth of unused parts from former President Trump’s border wall for peanuts – in an apparent end-run around pending legislation in Congress.
Since April, GovPlanet, an online auction house specializing in military surplus, has sold 81 lots of steel “square structural tubes” — intended for use as vertical bollards in the border barrier’s 30-foot-tall panels — hauling in about $2 million.
On Tuesday, GovPlanet netted $154,200 for 729 of the 28-foot-tall hollow beams, sold in five separate lots for an average $212 apiece.
Thirteen more lots are set to be auctioned on Aug. 23 and Aug. 30.
But just last month, as part of its annual defense appropriations package, the Democrat-led Senate passed a Republican-sponsored bill aimed at forcing Biden to stem the worsening migrant crisis at the US-Mexico border by extending the wall.
Up to $300 million worth of taxpayer-funded wall components have been left to rust since Biden came to office, Republicans have said.
The Finish It Act will make the feds use those materials on new wall construction — or hand the remaining stock over to states like Texas for use in their own border defense projects.
Now, the Biden administration is rushing to get rid of the wall leftovers before the GOP-led House can pass a matching version of the bill and make it law, critics told The Post.
“This sale is a wasteful and ludicrous decision by the Biden administration that only serves as further proof they have no shame,” Sen. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), the bill’s sponsor, told The Post — denouncing the move as “outrageous, behind-the-scenes maneuvering.”
“Leaving the border open to terrorists while selling border security materials at a loss is Bidenomics in a nutshell,” said Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), a co-sponsor.
“The pennies made from selling the border wall will not be enough to pay the families who suffer from a criminal act committed by someone who crossed our open borders during the Biden administration,” railed Oklahoma Sen. James Lankford.
Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) called the fire sale “reckless.”
“Our borders continue to be overrun by an unprecedented number of illegal immigrants, turning every district into a border district, and compromising our national security,” Stefanik said.
The GovPlanet auction schedule picked up markedly in May, when Wicker first introduced the Finish It Act, and increased again this month, days after the Senate’s defense bill passed on a bipartisan vote.
A DOD spokesman identified the tubes, held in an outdoor storage lot in Pima County, Ariz., as “excess border wall materials.”
“The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers … has already transferred approximately $154 million worth of the roughly $260 million of bollard panels and other materials,” according to Lt. Col. Devin T. Robinson, who used Defense Department lingo for the process of consigning military surplus items to commercial resellers or the trash heap.
Profits from the sale flow back to the Pentagon’s budget.
But GovPlanet is under strict instructions to keep the border-wall connection hush-hush.
“We are legally not allowed to mention these are the border wall materials, or we could lose our jobs,” a GovPlanet source told the Daily Upside, the financial newsletter that first reported the ongoing sales.
And while the lot listings scrupulously avoid identifying the tubes’ original purpose, viewers of the company’s Instagram page weren’t fooled.
“Good for building a wall,” a user called honest_jake wrote Aug. 3 under a GovPlanet Instagram post touting the sale of “industrial steel tubing” — an entry that was deleted from the social media site Friday.
“Why don’t you put that up instead of selling it,” added Brian Prewitt. “This is why tax payers are just about done paying taxes.”
Rep. Juan Ciscomani (R-Ariz.), who represents the border district where the auctioned wall components have been sitting idle, slammed Biden for his “refusal to act.”
“The federal government needs to be utilizing every tool in the toolbox to secure our border,” Ciscomani said. “Instead of putting these materials to their intended use, they have been squandered, first collecting dust in the desert and now being auctioned off.”
In 2021, Senate Republicans blistered Biden for spending $2 billion on storage costs and termination fees as he tried to wind down Trump’s wall-building contracts — and this year, congressional investigators found that the DOD was continuing to shell out $130,000 a day on storage fees for unused wall parts.
Former president Donald Trump pledged to build “an impenetrable, physical, tall, power, beautiful southern border wall” as a cornerstone of his victorious 2016 campaign for the White House.
He spent $15 billion during his presidency to install about 450 miles of barriers, with 250 additional miles in progress at the end of his term.
But Biden, in one of his first acts in office, halted all border wall construction in an Inauguration Day presidential proclamation, dismissing Trump’s program as “a waste of money” that was “not a serious policy solution.”
Almost immediately, asylum seekers surged to the US-Mexico border to take advantage of Biden’s lax enforcement policies.
US Customs and Border Protection recorded around 1.7 million migrant encounters on the southern border in fiscal year 2021 and 2.4 million in 2022, an all-time record.
Nearly 1.8 million migrant encounters have already occurred in the first nine months of the current fiscal year, according to the agency — on track to break 2022’s shocking total.
An estimated 2.6 million asylum seekers and “gotaways” have actually made it into the United States during Biden’s presidency — swamping cities like New York, where more than 10,000 migrants continue to arrive each month to demand shelter, meals and social services, shredding the municipal budget.
“President Biden has no regard for taxpayer dollars — or how his open border is bankrupting communities across the country that are footing the bill for his failures,” said Rep. Nicole Malliotakis (R-SI/Brooklyn), who is battling to bar migrant shelters from the city’s parks and military sites.