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Nov-08-2007 14:45printcomments

Federal Contractors Will be Watched Closely Under New Legislation

Susan Collins and Joe Lieberman
Susan Collins and Joe Lieberman

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) - The U.S. Senate has unanimously approved the bipartisan “Accountability in Government Contracting Act of 2007, authored by Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) and Joe Lieberman (ID-CT).

Senator Susan Collins of Maine says the bill will strengthen competition in federal contracting, add transparency to the process, and help curtail waste, fraud, and abuse of taxpayers’ money.

Additional cosponsors include Norm Coleman (R-MN), Tom Carper (D-DE), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), and Daniel Akaka (D-HI).

Senator Collins said, “The federal government’s prodigious purchasing can create abundant opportunities for waste, fraud, and abuse. Whether the problem is purchases of unusable trailers for hurricane victims, shoddy construction of schools and clinics in Iraq, or abuse of purchase cards by government employees, we must do a better job of protecting taxpayer dollars and delivering better acquisition outcomes.”

“Federal contract purchases now exceed $400 billion a year, and the amount of waste that has been uncovered through our committee’s investigations is alarming. It is clear that our federal contracting process is in need of comprehensive reforms. Federal agencies are awarding too many no-bid contracts. This bill will strengthen competition in federal contracting,” said Senator Collins.

She added that “this bill also focuses on the government’s acquisition workforce, which has been long neglected. By increasing the competencies and skills and numbers of our acquisition workforce, we will also ensure that the amount of waste and abuse will be reduced and the taxpayer’s dollars better spent.

Senator Lieberman said, “Government spending on contracts has exploded, while the trained workforce that oversees them has shrunk. This has already contributed to infuriating examples of waste, and the problem will only worsen in the years ahead if we don't act together. A successful system for buying goods and services requires careful planning and negotiation before the contract is signed, followed by rigorous oversight through the life of the contract. With billions and billions of taxpayers' dollars at stake, both the government and contractors have a responsibility to do a better job than they are now. The Accountability in Government Contracting Act will go a long way toward making sure the taxpayers are getting their money's worth."

The dollar amount of federal contracts has nearly doubled since the year 2000, but the number of contracts that were awarded following a full and open competition has fallen below 50 percent. The Collins-Lieberman legislation would require more federal contracts to be competitively bid.

The bill also increases competition by mandating competition for all government task or delivery orders over $100,000. The legislation promotes more informed and effective competition for orders over $5 million by requiring more information in a contract’s statement of work.

To increase the quality of competitive bids and improve transparency of the federal acquisition process, the bill mandates post-award debriefings for task or delivery orders valued over $5 million.
Source: Senator Susan Collins




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