Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke speaks at the Riverside Indian School, a Bureau of Indian Education institution, in Anadarko, Oklahoma, on January 25, 2018. Photo: U.S. Department of the Interior

Secretary Zinke 'was not aware' of new doors costing nearly $139,000

The Trump administration continues to face questions about spending, with Secretary Ryan Zinke under scrutiny this time.

The Department of the Interior is spending $138,670 to replace three doors in Zinke's Washington, D.C., office, The Associated Press reported. Though he wasn't aware of the approved contract and acknowledges that it costs "a lot of money," a spokesperson said the project had been in the works long before the secretary came on board.

“Between regulations that require historic preservation and outdated government procurement rules, the costs for everything from pencils to printing to doors is astronomical," the spokesperson told the AP. "This is a perfect example of why the secretary believes we need to reform procurement processes.”

The news comes after Ben Carson, the Secretary for the Department of Housing and Urban Development, came under fire for spending $$31,561 on new furniture for his office in D.C. He has since said he will cancel the order for the custom table, chairs and hutch.

"I was as surprised as anyone to find out that a $31,000 dining set had been ordered," Carson said in a statement on Monday. "I have requested that the order be canceled. We will find another solution for the furniture replacement."

The questions came as Carson seeks to take more than $110 million from Indian housing programs at the department. Despite appearing at two tribal conferences in the last two months, he has not publicly explained his justification cutting $54 million from the Native American Housing Block Grant or for eliminating the $60 million Indian Community Development Block Grant.

"We must follow the principle of subsidiarity: that the smallest unit of governance capable of managing its own affairs must be allowed to do so," Carson said in remarks to the National American Indian Housing Council on Tuesday, according to his prepared statement. "Tribal communities are already doing amazing work to meet their peoples' housing needs in ways that work for them.

Carson also failed to discuss the cuts when he spoke to the National Congress of American Indians last month.

Zinke is also seeking cuts in Indian program. The Bureau of Indian Affairs would see $453 million in reductions if Congress follows through with the Trump administration's fiscal year 2019 request.

Read More on the Story:
Interior spending $139K to fix doors in Sec. Zinke's office (The Associated Press March 8, 2018)
Doors to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke's office are getting a nearly $139,000 upgrade (USA Today March 9, 2018)
Interior Dept. spending nearly $139,000 on doors for Ryan Zinke’s office (MarketWatch March 9, 2018)
After furniture fuss, Ben Carson wants to cancel order for $31,000 dining set (The Washington Post March 2, 2018)

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