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Members of Congress are decrying the Transportation Security Administration’s decision to sign a $50 million contract to buy uniforms just a week before sequestration took effect.

TSA defends the deal — noting that its old contract had expired, and saying that without a new one it couldn’t have continued buying uniforms for airport screeners. And the agency says $50 million is a ceiling, not the amount it intends to spend on uniforms in the next year.

But the optics of such a big, badly timed contract are horrible, lawmakers said Wednesday

Photo Credit: TSA agents in their current uniforms at a a TSA security checkpoint in terminal 4 at LAX, Los Angeles International Airport, in Los Angeles May 2, 2011. Danny Moloshok / Reuters