Zinke says he negotiated down price of $139,000 office doors

Zinke says he negotiated down price of $139,000 office doors

Interior Secretary Ryan ZinkeRyan Keith ZinkeOvernight Energy: Gillibrand offers bill to ban pesticide from school lunches | Interior secretary met tribal lawyer tied to Zinke casino dispute | Critics say EPA rule could reintroduce asbestos use Interior secretary met with tribal lawyer attached to Zinke casino dispute Zinke joins board of small gold mining company MORE said the new price to replace six doors in his office will drop significantly from $139,000 to $75,000.

Speaking in front of the House Natural Resources Committee on Thursday on the White House's fiscal 2019 budget, Zinke said of the doors "we got it down to $75,000,” adding that they did so by “manipulating" the contracts terms. 

Zinke told the committee that he himself was shocked by how expensive the doors would be, after first learning about the price tag in news reports.

He blamed the cost on archaic rules.

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"The problem is you have to follow stringent rules. We are bound by those rules — I don’t have a choice. I think a little more common sense can be put into it," he said. "Our rules have good intent, but when you’re bound by a law, this is when working together can be helpful."

An Interior Department spokesperson confirmed that negotiations were still in progress for the door's replacement, saying in a statement, "The secretary has directed that the contract be modified to change the scope of the project for a substantial cost savings."

The spokesperson added that no final contract has been approved yet.

The AP first reported last week that the Interior Department had accepted a bid for $139,000 for the "secretary's door," by Conquest Solutions. The department said the doors are needed to replace three sets of double doors that leak and must be custom-made.