Republicans on the House Oversight Committee are requesting documents and information from the Biden administration related to the sale of border wall materials – as they investigate what they say is the “waste and abuse” of components.
“In the midst of the worst border crisis in American history by several metrics, the Biden administration should be focused on securing the southwest border, including by installing border barrier system components that have already been procured by the government,” Republicans on the Committee say in a letter to the head of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
“Instead, the Biden administration is actively trying to thwart future construction of this essential infrastructure. We write to obtain documents and information to enable oversight over the administration’s actions,” the letter led by Chairman James Comer and Rep. Jake LaTurner, says.
The Biden administration abruptly ended the construction of the Trump-era border wall project — which had seen more than 450 miles of barrier built in the prior administration. President Biden had promised that “not another foot” would be built and construction was halted within days of Inauguration Day.
Republicans have continued to call for additional construction, fueled by the ongoing migrant crisis which escalated dramatically in 2021 and is still ongoing. Some conservatives say that a wall is a significant aid in combating illegal immigration. Democrats have dismissed the project as ineffective and xenophobic.
But reports emerged last month of components being auctioned off. Steel “square structural tubes” photographed in a storage lot in Arizona were listed for sale on GovPlanet, an online auction marketplace. The DOD’s logistics agency told media outlets that the 28-foot hollow beams are “excess border wall materials that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers turned over to the DLA for disposition and are now for sale.”
“The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is disposing of the excess border wall materials in accordance with the Federal Acquisition Regulation,” a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers spokesperson said in an email to Fox News Digital last month.
“USACE has already transferred approximately $154 million worth of the roughly $260 million of bollard panels and other materials in accordance with standard excess property disposition procedures. USACE stands ready to implement a decision regarding disposition of the remaining materials.”
The Republicans on the committee say that barriers are effective and accuse the administration of having “learned no lessons from the last few years of chaos on the southwest border.”
“The Biden Administration’s decision to sell already purchased border materials is waste and abuse of taxpayer dollars,” Comer said in a statement. “The United States is in the midst of the worst border crisis in our history due to the Biden Administration’s policies. We should be using tools already at our disposal to stop the surge of illegal border crossings.”
“When someone is repeatedly breaking into your home, you don’t sell the locks on the door,” he added. “These border materials have sat rotting in the sun since day one of President Biden’s tenure when he signed a reckless proclamation halting border wall construction.”
LaTurner accused the administration of letting parts “sit and rust” amid the border crisis, and said that the sale is a “desperate attempt by this failed administration to sell off these parts for a loss to avoid having to secure the border.”
“I’m proud to team up with Chairman Comer and my colleagues on the Oversight Committee to get to the bottom of this shameful dereliction of duty,” he said.
The lawmakers want all documents and communications between agencies related to the disposition of components or materials and documents containing any inventory or accounting of such materials.
A Defense Department spokesperson told Fox that, as with all congressional correspondence, the department will reply directly to the letter’s sender.
Fox News’ Danielle Wallace contributed to this repoort.