WASHINGTON – Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman, ID-Conn., Thursday announced he is creating a new, ad hoc subcommittee to oversee federal contracting. Committee Member Senator Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., will chair the new Ad Hoc Subcommittee on Contracting Oversight.

“Management of federal contracts is one of the greatest operational challenges facing the federal government,” Lieberman said. “Spending on federal contracts rose to an astounding $532 billion last year. And for years the Government Accountability Office has listed government contracting on its list of programs at high risk of waste, fraud, abuse, mismanagement, or in need of comprehensive reform. This is a problem area that needs as much oversight as we can possibly muster.

“So, to more fully address the array of problems with federal contracting, I am establishing this new subcommittee with pride and great expectations. With her background as a prosecutor and state auditor, Senator McCaskill has unique investigative experience that will be crucial for this new subcommittee. I am certain that she will approach her new responsibilities with unmatched vigor to improve the value of all the taxpayer dollars devoted to federal contracting.”

McCaskill said: “Last year we made major strides in contracting accountability by establishing the Wartime Contracting Commission, and while I look forward to those investigations, we all know that outrageous contracting abuses occur in every facet of government. I can’t wait to get to work saving huge money for taxpayers. They deserve it.”

HSGAC has had a longstanding interest in reducing waste, fraud, and abuse in the area of federal contracting. The Committee has held numerous hearings on contracting problems within the Department of Homeland Security, waste in Iraq and Afghanistan reconstruction programs, problems created by private contractors in war zones, and the rapid increase, government-wide, in contracting for goods and services.

In the 110th Congress, the Committee marked up major contracting legislation introduced by Ranking Member Susan Collins, R-Me., and Lieberman, and co-sponsored by McCaskill. Many of the measure’s provisions were enacted in 2008 and 2009 as provisions of Defense authorization legislation.