Government Accountability & Balance of Powers

Wartime contracting reform bill reintroduced

June 18, 2012
by Esther Carey, Federal News Radio

Senators reintroduced a bill on June 12 aimed at ensuring wartime contracts are fair and economical, this time with bipartisan support. Sens. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) and Jim Webb (D-Va.) adjusted their bill, the Comprehensive Contingency Contracting Reform Act, since first introducing it on Feb. 29.

Joining McCaskill and Webb as cosponsors are Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and Susan Collins (R-Maine), ranking member of the same committee. The three original cosponsors are Al Franken (D-Minn.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.).

A press release from McCaskill’s office described four ways in which the new version of the bill improves federal accountability:

Elevating oversight responsibility, improving management structures, expanding planning requirements, and reforming contracting practices during overseas military contingencies
Requiring the government to identify how it will pay for military operations overseas
Improving the contracting process through greater transparency, competition, and professional education
Instituting additional provisions for contractor accountability

“It’s time to use the roadmap provided by the Commission [on Wartime Contracting] to completely change the way our government contracts during wartime, to make sure these failures are never repeated, and to better protect taxpayer dollars,” McCaskill said.

Webb added that “Extensive engagement with principal stakeholders in recent months — including the contracting community, federal agencies, and the Armed Services Committee — has allowed us to refine and strengthen the bill in a number of important ways.”

McCaskill and Webb lobbied for the creation of the commission in 2007. The Comprehensive Contingency Contracting Reform Act seeks to implement the Commission’s suggestions, issued August 2011.