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Public Statements

Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2013

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. FLAKE.This bill would prohibit the use of funds in the bill to enter into a contract with a company for leakproof drip pans unless the contract is awarded using competitive procedures as defined by statute.

A recent article by The New York Times highlights the story of a sole-source contract being awarded to a for-profit company to produce leak pans used in Black Hawk helicopters operated by the U.S. Army. These pans, according to The New York Times, cost $17,000 apiece, and in the last 3 years the Army has purchased $6.5 million of them.

An Army spokesman is quoted in the article, saying, ``Congress mandated a leakproof transmission drip pan,'' and that the contract was awarded without competitive bids.

I think that we can all agree that any contract administered by the Army or any other Federal agency should be awarded based on competitive procedures, which are already codified in statute.

While there are no line items for these pans included in the bill before us or the accompanying report, the Times reports that the Army has indicated that it ``might get more pans if financing is approved.''

The Department of Defense is already in the process of slashing its budget. They are learning to do more with less as Americans all over the country have had to do in the past several years. If a competitor exists who will produce these pans for less than $17,000 apiece, we ought to make sure that they compete for the project.

The amendment before us now would not prohibit the procurement of these pans even if it is determined that there is one company that can supply the Army with them--now, if there is only one company--but it would ensure that any purchase of these pans is done in a manner consistent with competitive procedures, putting to rest any notion that Congress has mandated sole-source contracts for private companies. This is a good governance, commonsense amendment.

I urge my colleagues to adopt it, and I look forward, if there is any objection--I think it's a good government amendment, but I would love to be able--I can't reserve my time, but I would like to have a dialogue if somebody has an issue with this amendment.


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