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Mr. ELLSWORTH. Mr. Chair, I would like to thank the gentleman for yielding the time.
I rise today in strong support of this critically important defense acquisition reform legislation. Last year, Mr. Chair, Democrats and Republicans in the House and Senate came together to pass bipartisan major weapons system acquisition reform legislation. Last year's reform effort aimed to reel in the cost overruns of approximately $300 billion in major weapons systems. The bill we are considering today, the IMPROVE Acquisition Act, serves as a worthy companion to the acquisition reform overhaul by focusing on how the Department of Defense procures approximately $200 billion a year in services.
The ideas included in this bill were realized through a year's worth of hearings held by the Defense Acquisition Reform Panel. I was honored to participate in the seven-member panel which was tasked by Chairman Ike Skelton to conduct a comprehensive review of the defense acquisition system. Thanks to the focused leadership of Chairman Rob Andrews and Ranking Member Mike Conaway, the panel put forward final recommendations that have guided us to this point. Today we will be voting on a reform package that will strengthen the defense acquisition workforce.
I would also like to thank Chairman Andrews for working with me to include a commonsense contractor tax compliance provision in this bill. This is an issue I've been working on for approximately 3 years, and I will continue to do so until it's fully enacted. The provision is quite simple. It requires companies seeking a defense contract to prove they are in good standing with the Internal Revenue Service. To do this, a company must certify they carry no serious delinquent tax debt. The Department of Defense will not merely rely on their word. The company must allow the Treasury Department to verify the certification. False certification will be reported to a contractor's integrity database. This is a practical and cost-effective way to ensure all companies compete on an equal playing field and our tax dollars are being used wisely.
Every year in April, Mr. Chair, Hoosiers play by the rules and pay their taxes. They expect companies who do business with the Federal Government to do the same. It's pretty simple: Bad actors don't just cheat us, they cheat the government of tax revenue, and they also gain an unfair advantage over businesses that are doing the right thing.
With that, I urge my colleagues to support this provision. Vote for the IMPROVE Acquisition Act.
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