Sen. Collins’ Contracting Provisions Included In Defense Authorization Bill

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Two provisions authored by Senate Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Susan Collins (R-ME) to change the Defense Department’s contracting process were included in the Defense Authorization bill approved Wednesday by the Senate.

One of Senator Collins’ provisions, sponsored with Sen. James Talent (R-MO), takes aim at barriers that now prevent small businesses from competing for Defense Department contracts. Specifically, Collins’ amendment would require federal agencies to perform a review of bundled contracts in excess of $5 million to determine whether the bundling was appropriate. It also would require that alternatives to bundling be considered and that the DoD conducts periodic reviews to determine whether small businesses are receiving their fair share of federal contracts.

“Bundling results in a dramatically reduced contractor base and lost opportunity costs because the government must choose among fewer firms with fewer ideas and innovations to deliver products and services at lower prices,” said Senator Collins. “This is a matter of making sure we have a healthy industrial base, that we have as many firms competing as vigorously as possible to do work for the federal government, and that our smaller companies have a fair shot at competing for federal contracts.”

Senator Collins’ other provision, sponsored with Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), would ensure that federal agencies make public the justification for any decisions to waive normal requirements for open and fully competitive bidding in Iraq reconstruction contracts.

“Fair and full competition would ensure the best value for American taxpayers,” said Senator Collins.