Amendment limits no-bid Iraq contracts

The Senate approved an amendment to a supplemental spending bill Oct. 2 that requires new Iraqi construction contracts be awarded through full and open competition, unless the Defense Department or other contracting agency publicly justifies a sole source or limited-bid contract.

The amendment was sponsored by Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Ron Wyden, D-Ore.

"With the enormous sums of money that U.S. taxpayers will be asked to pay to rebuild Iraq and to complete the U.S. mission there, our citizens need to know their hard-earned money won't be frittered away on single-source contracts," Wyden said.

The Collins-Wyden amendment would require justifying documents for any non-competitive bidding process to be published in the Federal Register within 30 days after the contract is signed.

Agencies would have to publish information including the value of the contract, a description of the contract's scope, a list of companies selected for the closed bidding process and explanations of how and why the agency chose those contractors.

Different procedures would apply to contract documents that could compromise national security if they were disclosed.

The amendment also includes provisions that would require reports to the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee and the House Committee on Government Reform on how funds are being spent.

The amendment would affect new contracts and existing contracts that are extended with funds from the supplemental. Contracts for reconstruction, expected to total $20.3 billion, are included, as are contracts with private-sector companies providing products and services to the U.S. military.

The amendment does not apply to funds for weapons or munitions or to funds provided directly to the military.


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