WASHINGTON—Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman, ID-Conn., and Ranking Member Susan Collins, R-Me., Monday applauded Senate passage of legislation that would renew the authority of the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to hear protests of federal agency purchases made under umbrella contracts, known as “task and delivery orders.”
The Independent Task and Delivery Order Review Extension Act of 2011 extends GAO’s authority to hear protests through September 30, 2016 of so-called “task and delivery orders” over $10 million. The legislation now heads to the House of Representatives, where a companion bill has already passed the Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
“For over 80 years, the GAO has provided an independent and objective process for determining whether federal contracts have been awarded fairly,” Lieberman said. “But in the 1990s, when Congress restricted the GAO’s ability to review individual task orders, no one anticipated how large these orders would become. In response to that growth, Senator Collins and I authored a provision, signed into law in 2008, to allow GAO to review orders exceeding $10 million through the end of this month. The review process has worked well and has promoted transparency and accountability. I am pleased that my Senate colleagues endorsed this bipartisan legislation and look forward to working with my House counterparts to see it become law.”
Collins said: “I am pleased with Senate passage of the Independent Task and Delivery Order Review Extension Act of 2011. I have long supported industry’s ability to protest task and delivery order awards among contractors to the Government Accountability Office. This bill will increase competition among these contractors which, in turn, drives best value for the American taxpayer. This is even more important now, as we look to increase agencies’ accountability in order to stretch every federal dollar in these lean fiscal times. Additionally, its enactment would allow for consistency of civilian agency and Department of Defense procurement policy.”
“Task and delivery orders” are individual purchases made under a larger contract as specific needs for goods and services arise. The current law authorizing protests of “task and delivery orders” for civilian agencies expires on May 28, 2011.
Subcommittee on Contracting Oversight Chairman Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., and Ranking Member Rob Portman, R-Ohio, are cosponsors of the legislation. Congressmen James Lankford, R-Okla., and Gerry Connolly, D-Va., are sponsors of the House bill.