WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Susan Collins, R-Me., Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, today released a statement about administration plans to achieve President Barack Obama’s goal of trimming federal contract spending by $40 billion a year. On Thursday, the Office of Management and Budget ordered federal agencies to reduce contract spending and hiring while also bringing some work back to federal staffers.
“I applaud the steps President Obama has taken to bring additional rigor and competition to federal contracting,” Senator Collins said. “The requirement that each agency reduce its high risk contracts by 10 percent is a meaningful attempt to ensure that contracts are awarded in a transparent and competitive manner.  I have also been a strong advocate for efforts to revitalize the federal contracting workforce and welcome the President’s proposals to do so.
“President Obama’s initiatives build on many of the reforms that I authored as part of the last two defense authorization acts, including those mandating increased competition in federal contracting and clearer guidance on the appropriate, and inappropriate, use of high-risk cost reimbursement contracts."
In October 2008, President George W. Bush signed the National Defense Authorization Act, which stemmed from a proposal by Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Ranking Member Susan Collins, R-Me., and Chairman Joe Lieberman, ID-Conn. The act, for fiscal year 2009, strengthened oversight, transparency, competition and accountability in the federal acquisition process.
“Federal contract purchases now exceed $440 billion a year, and the amount of waste that has been uncovered through the committee’s investigations is alarming. It was clear that our federal contracting process needed comprehensive reforms,” Senator Collins said at the time. “More competition, fewer no-bid contracts, and tougher management of federal contracts were required. This law will strengthen competition in federal contracting, help rebuild the government’s long-neglected acquisition workforce, and increase accountability and transparency to protect taxpayer dollars.”
She also noted that the federal government’s “prodigious purchasing creates abundant opportunities for waste, fraud, and abuse. Whether the problem is purchases of unusable trailers for hurricane victims or shoddy construction of schools and clinics in Iraq or Afghanistan, we must do a better job of protecting taxpayer dollars and delivering better results.”