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Public Statements

Accountability for Defense Contractors Act

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


* Mr. BLUMENAUER. Madam Speaker, since July, I have been working with 26 Oregon National Guard members who have filed a lawsuit against the defense contractor KBR for exposing them to the potent carcinogen, hexavalent chromium. These veterans have a compelling case for contractor negligence that resulted in their poisoning.

* As the legal proceedings have unfolded, KBR has revealed the existence of a still-classified contract clause that could shift the cost of all damages and court fees onto the Department of Defense--and by extension the U.S. taxpayers.

* Today I am introducing legislation, along with Representative Schrader, who has been a strong ally to these veterans, and Representative Walter Jones, a leader on the House Armed Services Committee, to end the contracting practices that shield companies from their own reckless behavior and that remove incentives for contractors to operate responsibly.

* This legislation will set important and long-overdue limits to indemnification agreements and will introduce much-needed congressional oversight of the defense contracting process.

* Senators Wyden and Merkley are introducing a version of this bill in the Senate, and I hope that our colleagues on both sides of the aisle and in both chambers will act swiftly to enact this legislation before the end of the session.


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