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Contracting and Tax Accountability Act of 2013

Floor Speech

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Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Ms. SPEIER. Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the ranking member for allotting me some time to speak on this bill, and to our chairman, Mr. Issa, for moving this bill forward, and to my colleague, Mr. Chaffetz from Utah, who is the author of this measure.

Imagine what our constituents are thinking right now. Imagine if they really knew that while they're scurrying around trying to get their tax returns filed on time and making sure they have adequate funds in their accounts to write out that check, that there are corporations in this country that continue to get contracts from the United States of America, even though they don't pay their taxes.

So this bill will ensure that taxpayer dollars due today only go to responsible contractors who do not have significant debts to the Federal Government. This bill will make it clear to all contracting officials: no more tax money for deadbeat contractors.

As it stands, delinquent contractors are not only eligible for future contracts, but they actually get them. With one of the largest budgets in the Federal Government, the Defense Department already has a reputation for letting contractors fleece taxpayers. And to underscore this point, when the Defense Department needed a new PR contractor, they settled on a company that still owed $4 million in taxes. How can we allow that to happen?

Another company that owed the Federal Government a million dollars in taxes was paid an additional million dollars as a contractor from the Department of Defense. Instead of using the money to pay back the government, what did he do with the money? He bought a boat, some cars, and a home overseas.

Even the IRS, the agency responsible for collecting our taxes, has fallen down on the job of making sure that our taxpayer dollars only go to contractors who have paid them. The Inspector General found the IRS gave 11 companies $356 million in contracts despite owing millions of dollars themselves.

So the question is, Why would we reward scofflaws?

Let's get this done this year. And I would suggest to my colleagues on the other side of the aisle if in fact the Senate is the logjam, if that's what is going to prevent this from taking effect, let's co-write a letter to the President of the United States and ask him under his powers of executive order to take the steps necessary to put this in place so that we don't continue to have contractors who do not pay their taxes getting rewarded with contracts by the Federal Government.

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