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Public Statements

National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2011

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Ms. SHEA-PORTER. Mr. Chair, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Chair, for too long the American people have been the victims of theft and fraud by contractors working in Iraq and Afghanistan. Over the past few years, Congress has taken steps to rein these contractors in. One of these steps was to create a database to keep information on these contractors and their subcontractors. Unfortunately, Mr. Chair, they are not entering the information.

My amendment would impose a penalty on those contractors that do not comply with the requirement to report this contract information. Their noncompliance prevents oversight agencies from conducting proper audits and investigations. Therefore, it prevents these agencies from uncovering waste and contract fraud. We cannot protect taxpayer dollars from theft if we can't follow the money.

Just this week, a witness before the Commission on Wartime Contracting said that the contracting environment in our overseas operations was highly vulnerable to fraud. The GAO recently reported that Federal agencies face difficult challenges in tracking and overseeing contractor personnel and contracts.

We have been using contractors in both wars for 9 years now. The scale of waste and contract fraud is enormous, and the criminal activity is diverse: fraud, bribery, kickbacks, extortion, embezzlement, theft of cash or equipment, etc cetera. But we have not given our Federal agencies all the tools they need to catch these bad actors. We often don't even know who we are doing business with.

This amendment will penalize contractors who do not comply with the reporting requirements. Taxpayers are spending billions of dollars in Iraq and Afghanistan. They deserve accountability.

I urge my colleagues to support this amendment and the underlying bill.

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