Accountability in Contracting Act Breezes Through Congress
In March 2007, the House passed the Accountability in Contracting Act (H.R. 1362) twice, once as part of the FY2007 emergency appropriations supplemental bill and again as standalone legislation. The bill was introduced by House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Henry Waxman (R-CA).
The bill, while not as aggressive as Waxman’s 2006 Clean Contracting Act, seeks to limit the use of certain types of abuse-prone contracts, increase transparency and accountability in federal contracting, and deter corruption in the acquisition process.
The bill includes a number of significant contracting reforms, including a mandate that agencies spending more than $1 billion on contracts create a plan to minimize sole-source contacts. Additionally, these agencies must create a plan to minimize cost reimbursement contracts. If signed into law, agencies will be required to report to Congress on a quarterly basis any contractor over- charges of more than $1 million that are unjustified, unsupported, questioned, or unreasonable.
Due to controversial provisions, this bill is expected to be vetoed by President George W. Bush.