Senate & House Leaders Release New GAO Report- Are Federal Agencies Doing Enough to Protect Taxpayer Dollars?

Published: Oct 6, 2011

WASHINGTON- Today, leaders of both parties of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform released a new Government Accountability Office report entitled Suspension and Debarment: Some Agency Programs Need Greater Attention, and Governmentwide Oversight Could be Improved.

“Federal agencies should be far more aggressive in weeding out contractors who, because of their misconduct, are untrustworthy business partners.” said Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Joseph Lieberman, ID-Conn. “With over $530 billion spent annually on federal contracts, eliminating the bad actors would help wring waste from government spending and begin to restore taxpayers’ trust in Washington’s ability to spend their money wisely.”

“This GAO report demonstrates the need for stronger leadership at federal agencies and an investigative structure focused on identifying unethical, corrupt, or consistently poorly-performing contractors,” said House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa. “The report’s finding that agencies devoted to a suspension and debarment program achieve much greater success in rooting out waste and fraud sends an unmistakable message to federal officials still turning a blind-eye to bad actors who defraud taxpayers.”

“Suspension and debarment are important tools to help ensure that only honest and responsible individuals and businesses win federal contracts and grants,” said Senator Collins, R-Maine, ranking member of the Senate committee. “That is why the findings in this GAO report are so disturbing. GAO documents that many major departments and agencies – including HHS, HUD, Commerce, and FEMA – have not suspended or debarred a single contractor between 2006 and 2010. The Administration must direct all federal agencies to establish robust suspension and debarment programs to ensure that the federal government does put taxpayer dollars at risk by doing business with dishonest or repeatedly incompetent contractors.”

“Suspension and debarment programs are critically important to protecting taxpayers from contractor fraud. GAO finds that some agencies, like EPA, have active suspension and debarment programs, while others are either less vigorous, given the magnitude of agency spending, or totally inactive. Agencies must learn from each other what are best practices and then implement them. Taxpayers deserve no less,” said Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., ranking member of the House committee.

You can read a copy of the GAO report here.


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