By a vote of 347-73
, the House passed the Accountability in Contracting Act this afternoon. This legislation requires federal agencies to limit the use of abuse-prone contracts and increases transparency and accountability in federal contracts. The Oversight Committee has proven
that "under the Bush Administration, the "shadow government" of private companies working under federal contract has exploded in size. Between 2000 and 2005, procurement spending increased by over $175 billion dollars, making federal contracts the fastest growing component of federal discretionary spending." The committee has also identified
"118 federal contracts worth $745.5 billion that have been found by government officials to include significant waste, fraud, abuse, or mismanagement. Each of the Bush Administration's three signature initiatives -- homeland security, the war and reconstruction in Iraq, and Hurricane Katrina recovery -- has been characterized by wasteful contract spending." Watch Chairman Waxman explain:
"It looks like this Administration would now like to keep us from getting embarrassing information about them, because they don't like this bill. 'We have to give too many reports to Congress...there has to be too much transparency...it's burdensome to have to be open about these contracts.' But the fact of the matter is, we are spending an incredible amount of money on these outside contracts. And from what we have seen, our taxpayers are not being protected from waste, fraud, abuse and corruption."
Rep. Carolyn Maloney (NY-14) urges everyone to read the report on contract abuse from the committee entitled "Dollars Not Sense" which is available here along with a searchable database of problem contracts:
"Of all the areas of mismanagement, contracting may look dull, but it is billions of dollars that if we were better stewards we would have those dollars in education and health care."