Databases and Loopholes
The House yesterday approved the Federal Spending Accountability Act, which mandates the creation of a database of contractor misdeeds that could be used in award decisions.
Introduced by Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.), the legislation presses an idea that has been bouncing around in Congress for a while: to hold companies responsible for bad behavior. It was approved by a voice vote just hours after going to the floor for debate.
Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) introduced a similar bill in the Senate a short time later.
Here's what they had to say in a press release:
"Right now, there is nothing stopping a fraudulent contractor from bouncing from federal agency to federal agency, fleecing U.S. taxpayers the whole way," said Maloney. "The federal government's watchdogs -- federal suspension and debarment officials -- lack the centralized information they need to crack down on fraudulent contractors. Congress can and should do more to fortify the federal procurement system and help government watchdogs show the door to contractors who are lining their pockets at the expense of hardworking taxpayers."
"This bill will put in place the necessary infrastructure to ensure that federal spending goes to businesses that work within the law, not outside it. It is time to empower our federal contracting officials with the information they need to protect American tax dollars. I applaud Congresswoman Maloney for initiating this very common sense policy," said McCaskill, who introduced the Contractor and Federal Spending Accountability Act in the Senate today and plans to seek to attach the language to the National Defense Authorization Act next week.
The House also approved legislation that would eliminate a notable loophole in proposed regulations that would exempt U.S. contractors in foreign countries from having to report waste, fraud or abuse they encounter while doing work for the government.
The loophole was the stuff of teeth-gnashing and fingerpointing in recent weeks on the Hill.
"This loophole is so outrageous that once exposed in the light of day it was simply indefensible. No contractor should be given a green light to defraud taxpayers. We need to protect taxpayer dollars and our troops serving overseas by closing this loophole with the force of law," said Rep. Peter Welch of Vermont.
In case you were wondering, the proposed law is called Close the Contractor Fraud Loophole Act.
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Posted by: Stan Soloway | April 25, 2008 4:12 PM
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