Davis issues warning over contractor bill

The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on Thursday passed a measure that Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.) is warning could result in the removal of prominent government contractors.

The committee approved the Contractors and Federal Spending Accountability Act (H.R. 3033) which would create a centralized database to monitor contractor performance.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) was approved over objections from the Republican members of the committee, Davis' office said in a statement.

The database is intended to be used by federal contracting officers as a reference but also would be available to the general public. As a result, the bill would allow creation of a "blacklist" to intimidate vendors and impose a virtually automatic ban on some contractors under a controversial "two-strikes-and-you're-out" provision, Davis said.

The bill includes two-strikes-and-you're-out language and would trigger debarment proceedings against any contractor that has had two adverse actions in a three-year period, the statement said.

Davis used Boeing Co. as an example of a company that could be debarred under the bill. The company has had "several judgments against it and entered into settlements involving various federal laws, including the Arms Export Control Act, the False Claims Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and Constitutional claims under the Equal Protection clause," Davis said. "If those adjudications are included under this bill's terms, Boeing and a great many other firms could face automatic debarment proceedings.

Davis said he supports the debarment process, but said it should be used to protect government, not punish contractors.

"I'm not sure my colleagues realize the potential consequences of these provisions," he said. "Are they trying to punish Boeing here?"

In a statement released when she introduced the bill last July, Maloney said, "Right now, there is nothing stopping a fraudulent contractor from bouncing from federal agency to federal agency, fleecing U.S. taxpayers the whole way."

About the Author

Nick Wakeman is the editor-in-chief of Washington Technology. Follow him on Twitter: @nick_wakeman.

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