Sens. Lieberman, Collins: Agencies Must Fix Contract Mistakes

Thursday, 11 Aug 2011 09:25 AM

By Greg McDonald

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Sens. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut and Susan Collins of Maine are calling on federal agencies to tighten their acquisition policies, which a new government report suggests could save billions in wasted spending.
 
The report from the General Accountability Office (GAO) was recently ordered by the two senators who head the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. It found agencies are not planning, negotiating, or overseeing their outside service contracts in a way that maximizes taxpayer dollars.
 
Lieberman, the Independent who chairs the committee, said the GAO report “offers a valuable lesson in good government.”
 
“The federal government must determine what it really needs to buy, how it’s going to buy it, and what it should pay before a contractor is hired,” he said. “If agencies clearly define what they are buying and what they can afford, taxpayer dollars will be saved in the long run.”
 
Collins, the ranking Republican on the committee, agreed: “Without adequate planning, agencies put at risk taxpayers’ dollars, successful contract outcomes, and the timely execution of agencies’ missions.”
 
The senators noted the federal government yearly spends about $135 billion on non-defense related service contracts, ranging from background investigations to aircraft maintenance.
 
The GAO report focused primarily on how four agencies the Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Homeland Security, the National Air and Space Administration, and U.S. Agency for International Development – manage outside contractors.

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