Thompson Measure Increases Government Access to Commercial Markets

(Washington, DC) — Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Fred Thompson yesterday introduced legislation to revise accounting standards used for Federal government contracts (S. 1151). In addition, Senator Thompson was successful in getting the bill language included as an amendment to the Fiscal Year 2000 National Defense Authorization Act approved last night by the Senate.

Senator Thompson said, “Industry sellers and government buyers continue to identify the government?s Cost Accounting Standards as a remaining barrier to the integration of commercial items into the government marketplace. This bill carefully balances the government?s need for greater access to commercial items, particularly those of nontraditional suppliers, with the need for strong accounting standards to protect taxpayer dollars.”

Joining Senator Thompson in this effort are Governmental Affairs Committee Ranking Member Joseph Lieberman (D-CT), and the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Armed Services Committee, Senators John Warner (R-VA) and Carl Levin (D-MI).

In recent years, Congress has enacted two major acquisition reform statutes which changed the trend in government contracting toward simplifying the government?s acquisition process and eliminating many government-unique requirements. In keeping with this trend toward commercial market practices, this bill further streamlines the federal procurement system to save taxpayer dollars.

Senator Thompson?s bill would:

  • raise the threshold for coverage under the Cost Accounting Standards from $25 million to $50 million;

  • exempt contractors from coverage if they do not have a contract in excess of $5 million;

  • exclude coverage based on firm, fixed price contracts awarded on the basis of adequate price competition without the submission of certified cost or pricing data; and

  • provide for waivers by agencies under certain situations.

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