Lieberman creates contracting oversight panel
- By Matthew Weigelt
- Jan 30, 2009
Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, has created a subcommittee to oversee federal contracting. Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) will be its chairwoman.
Contract management “is a problem area that needs as much oversight as we can possibly muster,” Lieberman said Jan. 28 as he created the Ad Hoc Contracting Oversight Subcommittee.
Lieberman’s committee has had a longstanding interest in reducing
mismanagement and abuse in contracting. The committee has held numerous
hearings on contracting problems within the Homeland Security
Department, waste in Iraq and Afghanistan reconstruction programs, and
problems created by private contractors in war zones. It has also
investigated the rapid increase governmentwide in contracting for goods
McCaskill has unique investigative experience and has already
pushed contracting reforms in the previous Congress, Lieberman said.
Some of her reforms were included in the fiscal 2009 National Defense
Authorization Act (S. 3001). Lieberman added that McCaskill will approach the subcommittee work with unmatched vigor.
“Last year we made major strides in contracting accountability
by establishing the Wartime Contracting Commission, and while I look
forward to those investigations, we all know that outrageous
contracting abuses occur in every facet of government,” McCaskill said.
“I can't wait to get to work saving huge money for taxpayers. They
Contracting, particularly concerning practices at the Defense Department and NASA, has remained on the Government Accountability Office’s High-Risk list for 17 years and 19 years, respectively. On the 2009 High Risk List, GAO continues to conclude that government contracting is susceptible to abuse and needs comprehensive reform because agencies often mismanage their contracts.
Despite the potential for problems, the government today relies heavily on contractors. DOD obligated more than $315 billion on contracts for goods and services in fiscal 2007, which is more than double the amount it spent six years ago, according to GAO.
Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.