U.S. Senators Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) - members of the Senate Armed Services Committee - announced today that they have introduced commonsense legislation to help federal contracting officials more quickly cancel contracts that are allowing taxpayer dollars to fall into the hands of America's enemies.
The bipartisan "Never Contract With The Enemy" bill (S. 675) builds on the improvements made by provisions Ayotte successfully included in the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act that gave Pentagon contracting officials in the Central Command area of responsibility the ability to more expeditiously sever ties with contractors who funnel taxpayer resources to those who oppose the United States. A Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) report released today identified several areas where the Defense Department can better implement these authorities, and passage of S.675 would help address these implementation shortcomings.
"American taxpayer dollars should never benefit our enemies. This common sense legislation will help ensure that all federal contracting officials have the ability to move quickly to terminate contracts that are diverting money to groups that are working against America's interests," said Senator Ayotte. "These authorities have been helpful to our troops in Afghanistan, and it makes sense to extend them to contracting officials in all federal departments."
"Government contracts benefitting enemies like al Qaeda and the Haqqani Network are simply unacceptable and unconscionable," Senator Blumenthal said. "This common sense bipartisan measure would enable ending contracts with terrorist ties more quickly and decisively. No taxpayer dollars should go to contractors that direct money to al Qaeda and others seeking to harm Americans."
With the U.S. government engaging in a large number of contracts around the world to promote our interests, the Ayotte-Blumenthal legislation seeks to reform the Federal Acquisition Regulation to give federal contracting officials the tools they need to terminate or void contracts that are directly or indirectly benefitting America's enemies.
Under current law, the Pentagon has the authority to void contracts that are benefitting our enemies in Afghanistan - but Defense Department contracting officials outside of the Central Command area of responsibility and all other federal government contracting officials do not. The "Never Contract With the Enemy" bill would improve the nation's acquisition policies by allowing officials across government to more expeditiously stop contracts that have been found to benefit our enemies.