House approves contracting reforms in supplemental spending bill

Summary of Accountability in Contracting Act

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The House passed the Accountability in Contracting Act for a second time today as a part of the fiscal 2007 emergency appropriations supplemental bill.

Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, introduced the Accountability in Contracting Act March 6, and the House passed it March 15. It, however, had no Senate companion so Waxman’s office sought to push it through the appropriations bill.

The bill contains four provisions that were included in the original bill, but does not match HR 1362 word-for-word.

The provisions that made it into the appropriations bill include:

  • Agencies spending more than $1 billion on contracts would have to come up with a plan to minimize sole-source contracts.
  • Agencies must justify the use of sole-source contracts.
  • Agencies spending more than $1 billion on contracts would have to come up with a plan to minimize cost reimbursement contracts. 
  • Agencies would have to tell Congress on a quarterly basis any contractor overcharge of more than $1 million that are unjustified, unsupported, questioned or unreasonable.

The appropriations bill does not include several key provisions, including one on requiring an acquisition workforce study and the repeal of the end date for the Acquisition Training Fund.

It also doesn’t include maximizing firm fixed price contracts and restrictions on federal procurement officials who take jobs in the private sector.

The bill now moves to the Senate. The Senate did not include the contracting provisions in its version.

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