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Department of Defense Appropriations Act - Continued

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. COBURN. Mr. President, amendment No. 3382 would require the use of competition for all Federal contracts awarded after the date of the enactment of this act for disaster assistance. It would also require the Federal agencies to review and recompete no-bid contracts that had been awarded prior to it. There is no penalty if it is a no-bid contract, but as that goes forward, additional payments on that would have to come in to review. All this is, is about good government and getting value for the dollars we are going to spend.

I reserve the remainder of my time.


Mr. COBURN. Mr. President, there is no reason to take additional time. The fact is right now with FEMA, they have prebid contracts. In New Jersey, they didn't take the lowest competitive bid contract on the debris removal. We are going to spend about 20 percent, 25 percent more because the Federal Government is paying for it.

The vast majority of the money in this bill is not going to be contracted out initially. As a matter of fact, only $9 billion is going to go out right way and that is in terms of flood insurance. The rest of it is coming from the FEMA funds and the DRF funds. None of those are competitive bid contracts, and it will not have any impact on housing, home flood insurance or any of those other areas. Doing it right and getting value for our money is important, especially now that we face the difficult fiscal times that are in front of us.

I urge a ``yes'' vote and yield back the remainder of my time.

I ask for the yeas and nays.

Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent to move to the next amendment.


Mr. COBURN. There is a lot of work in this bill for the Corps of Engineers, and they are going to have a lot of work to do in the remediation and mitigation that is associated with Hurricane Sandy. However, in this bill is a provision which says that whatever the Corps decides to approve, they give a blanket authorization. This means if, in fact, the Corps doesn't do what is in the best interests for New Jersey or New York, they get to make the decision. The appropriators and authorizing committee don't get to decide; the Corps makes the decision.

The one organization that has a problem with priorities in this country today is the Corps of Engineers. For us to blanket whatever they say as a priority versus having government, committee, and appropriator oversight by giving this blanket waiver is to take away our powers to correct them. All this does is say it is not automatically authorized and we will have plenty of time. All these are mitigation projects. They should all be authorized and approved by the committee of jurisdiction as they go forward. Rather than a blanket approval, all they have to do is come to Congress and say: Give us approval.

We are setting a terrible precedent. What this says is, in the future, we are going to let the Corps decide what is important rather than the Governors, the State legislators or the Congress.

I reserve the remainder of my time.


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