Maloney takes the Lead in Improving Federal Debarment System

Jul 26, 2002
Press Release
Washington, DC: Friday, Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), Congressman Stephen Horn (R-CA) and Congressman Jim Turner (D-TX) introduced legislation - H.R. 5292, the Contractor Accountability Act of 2002 - to improve Federal agency oversight of contracts and assistance and to strengthen accountability of the government-wide debarment and suspension system. Reforms in the Maloney bill stem from a long commitment to increased disclosure in government contracts and a recent report of the Project on Government Oversight.
Explaining the bill's significance, Congresswoman Maloney said: "In a time when corporate accounting scandals are being revealed at an unprecedented pace, isn't it wise to have a full accounting of the Federal government's investments? By spending over $215 billion a year on goods and services, the United States is the largest consumer of goods and services. Yet the Federal government's watchdogs, the Federal suspension and debarment officials, currently lack the information they need to protect our business interests. We currently have no central way of accounting for the performance of our purchases, but this bill will change that."

HR 5292, the Contractor Accountability Act of 2002, does the following:

. Establishes a centralized database on actions taken against federal contractors and assistance participants, requiring a description of each of these actions. This will provide debarring officials with the information they need to protect the business interests of the United States.

. Places the burden of proving responsibility and subsequent eligibility for contracts or assistance on the on the person seeking contracts or assistance should they have been previously convicted of two exact or similar violations that constitutes a charge for debarment.

. It improves/clarifies the role of the Interagency Committee on Debarments and Suspension and provides for retention by the prosecuting Federal agency of fines paid by offender for reimbursement of costs associated with suspension and debarment activities.