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DHS Waives Procurement Regulations to Expedite Border Wall Construction; Chad Wolf Quoted

Jeff Brody
Chad Wolf

The Trump administration has announced that the nation’s government will waive federal contracting laws to speed construction of the border wall between the United States and Mexico, the administration announced in Feb. 2020

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has implemented a 2005 law to waive 10 procurement regulations and allow the government to build 177 miles of border wall faster in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. The waived laws include requirements for having open competition, justifying selections and receiving all bonding from a contractor before any work can begin.

“Congress has given the department authority to waive a number of laws and regulations when it comes to building border barriers and border roads,” said acting Homeland Security Secretary, Chad Wolf.  

The 2005 Real ID Act gives the Homeland Security Department discretion to waive laws that can inhibit the barrier construction along the Southwest border. The administration stated that it will waive the regulations for contractors who have already been vetted and the “apply to projects that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will be awarded in six of nine Border Patrol sectors on the Mexican border.” 

“The Army Corps is tasked with awarding $6.1 billion that the Department of Defense transferred for wall construction last year after Congress gave Trump only a fraction of the money. The administration has been able to spend that money during legal challenges.”

That the Trump administration has issued 16 waivers under this law (compared to five under President George W. Bush), but this is the first time it is being used for federal contracting regulations. 

“The department has used that authority 21 times. Mostly waiving environmental regulations and laws. Today we are going to start waiving those for procurement regulations and laws as well. It allows us to speed up a lot of our contracts that the Army Corps has. Anywhere from 30 to 45 to 60 days. We hope that will accelerate some of the construction going on along the Southwest border.”

Potomac Officers Club will host its 2020 Procurement Forum on Thursday, March 19th. Register here to join the event.

Correa will serve as a keynote speaker at the 2020 Procurement Forum. During her keynote address, she will discuss the short term and long term strategies, acquisition innovation initiatives, commercial items acquisition, workforce initiatives, technology modernization and collaboration between government and industry.

Join Potomac Officers Club for its 2020 Procurement Forum on March 19th to learn about the impact DoD’s CMMC will have on cybersecurity practices, supply chain security and other aspects of the federal market. Register here for POC’s 2020 Procurement Forum.

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