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Border wall materials sold at discount; Air Force nominee says sales part of effort to duck Congress


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Washington Times

The administration’s expanding border wall troubles have infected President Biden’s nominee for undersecretary of the Air Force, who encountered trouble on Capitol Hill this week over her role in the Pentagon’s hasty and wasteful sell-off of the construction materials.

Republican senators pummeled Melissa G. Dalton over her job as the Pentagon’s top homeland defense official. She presided over the fire sale of wall materials at a 97% discount while misleading lawmakers.

 

Under intense questioning Tuesday, Ms. Dalton broke with Mr. Biden. She said a wall could effectively “mitigate” the flow of migrants and acknowledged that the Pentagon wasted money by selling the materials so hastily.

 

Senators said the Defense Department, which was roped into border wall construction by the Army Corps of Engineers and President Trump’s use of emergency powers, was sitting on massive stockpiles of material after Mr. Biden halted all the work on Inauguration Day in 2021.

The government was paying $130,000 a day to store the construction material. When lawmakers started writing legislation to force the Pentagon to either use the material or donate it to states, the Defense Department quietly began selling it to the public through an auction site.

Sen. Roger F. Wicker of Mississippi, the top Republican on the Armed Services Committee, told Ms. Dalton that the auctioning was “a clear effort to circumvent congressional intent.”

 

 

It was also poor budgeting. The department collected just 3 cents on the dollar, he said.

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