House mulls increasing contractor oversight

New bill aims to stop giving contracts to companies with histories of poor performance and misconduct

Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.) has introduced legislation that would require more control of contractors, partly by using information technology.

The Federal Contracting Oversight and Reform Act (H.R. 5726), introduced July 13, would consolidate nine separate federal databases of contract information--including Excluded Parties List System and Federal Procurement Data System-Next Generation--into a single searchable and linked network. The bill also would give all members of Congress, instead of a select few, access to the Federal Awardee Performance and Integrity Information System, which contains performance information on companies. It would also be connected to the combined database.

The General Services Administration’s inspector general would be charged with testing whether giving contractors identifying numbers would help in tracking them, according to the bill. The study would determine whether the system of numbers works sufficiently and if the model is feasible for keeping following companies that do business with the government.


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The measure also has several provisions to manage the large number of companies in the federal marketplace, and would expand the scope of performance information about each company from five years to 10 years. And before being awarded a contract worth more than $100,000, companies also would have to certify that they are an upstanding without a criminal past based on the Federal Acquisition Regulation’s description.

Quigley said his bill seeks to repair a contracting system that allows money to go to companies with histories of poor performance and misconduct.

“It is inexcusable to waste millions of taxpayer dollars on companies that at the very least aren’t doing a good job, and at the very worst are undermining our national security,” said Quigley, a member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

Quigley's bill has a companion bill in the Senate, introduced by Sen. Russ Feingold (D-Wis.) in May.

 

About the Author

Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

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