Report text available as:

  • TXT
  • PDF   (PDF provides a complete and accurate display of this text.) Tip ?

110th Congress                                                   Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 2d Session                                                     110-596

======================================================================



 
      CONTRACTORS AND FEDERAL SPENDING ACCOUNTABILITY ACT OF 2008

                                _______
                                

 April 18, 2008.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the 
              State of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

  Mr. Waxman, from the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, 
                        submitted the following

                              R E P O R T

                             together with

                            ADDITIONAL VIEWS

                        [To accompany H.R. 3033]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

  The Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, to whom was 
referred the bill (H.R. 3033) to improve Federal agency awards 
and oversight of contracts and assistance and to strengthen 
accountability of the Government-wide suspension and debarment 
system, having considered the same, report favorably thereon 
with an amendment and recommend that the bill as amended do 
pass.

                                CONTENTS

                                                                   Page
Purpose and Summary..............................................     3
Background and Need for Legislation..............................     4
Legislative History..............................................     4
Section-by-Section...............................................     5
Explanation of Amendments........................................     6
Committee Consideration..........................................     7
Roll Call Votes..................................................     7
Application of Law to the Legislative Branch.....................     7
Statement of Oversight Findings and Recommendations of the 
  Committee......................................................     7
Statement of General Performance Goals and Objectives............     7
Constitutional Authority Statement...............................     7
Federal Advisory Committee Act...................................     7
Unfunded Mandates Statement......................................     7
Earmark Identification...........................................     7
Committee Estimate...............................................     8
Budget Authority and Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate...     8
Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported............    10
Additional Views.................................................    11

  The amendment is as follows:
  Strike all after the enacting clause and insert the 
following:

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

  This Act may be cited as the ``Contractors and Federal Spending 
Accountability Act of 2008''.

SEC. 2. DATABASE FOR CONTRACTING OFFICERS AND SUSPENSION AND DEBARMENT 
                    OFFICIALS.

  (a) In General.--Subject to the authority, direction, and control of 
the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, the Administrator 
of General Services shall establish and maintain a database of 
information regarding integrity and performance of Federal contracts 
and grant recipients for use by Federal officials having authority over 
contracts and grants.
  (b) Information Included.--The database--
          (1) shall consist of information regarding civil, criminal, 
        and administrative proceedings concluded by the Federal 
        Government and State governments against Federal contractors or 
        grant recipients; and
          (2) shall include with respect to each person awarded a 
        Federal contract or grant--
                  (A) information regarding all proceedings referred to 
                in paragraph (1) against that person in at least the 
                most recent 5-year period;
                  (B) with respect to each proceeding--
                          (i) a brief description of the proceeding; 
                        and
                          (ii) any amount paid by the person to the 
                        Federal Government or a State government;
                  (C) all Federal contracts and grants awarded to the 
                person that were terminated in such period due to 
                default;
                  (D) all Federal suspensions and debarments of the 
                person in that period;
                  (E) all Federal administrative agreements entered 
                into by the person and the Federal Government in that 
                period to resolve a suspension or debarment proceeding 
                and, to the maximum extent practicable, such agreements 
                entered into by the person and a State government in 
                that period; and
                  (F) all final findings by a Federal official in that 
                period that the person is not a responsible source as 
                defined by section 4(7) of the Office of Federal 
                Procurement Policy Act (41 U.S.C. 403(7)).
  (c) Requirements Relating to Information in Database.--
          (1) Direct input and update.--The Administrator shall design 
        and maintain the database in a manner that allows the 
        appropriate officials of each Federal agency to directly input 
        and update in the database information relating to actions it 
        has taken with regard to contractors or grant recipients.
          (2) Timeliness and accuracy.--The Administrator shall develop 
        policies to require the timely and accurate input of 
        information into the database and to allow Federal contractors 
        and grant recipients to append comments to information in the 
        database.
  (d) Availability.--
          (1) Availability to all federal agencies.--The Administrator 
        shall make the database available to all Federal agencies.
          (2) Availability to the public.--The Administrator shall make 
        the database available to the public by posting the database on 
        the General Services Administration website.
          (3) Limitation.--This subsection does not require the public 
        availability of information that is exempt from public 
        disclosure under section 552(b) of title 5, United States Code.

SEC. 3. SUSPENSION AND DEBARMENT PROCEDURE FOR REPEAT VIOLATORS.

  Not later than 180 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, 
Federal suspension and debarment regulations shall be amended to 
require issuance of a notice of proposed debarment to any contractor or 
grant recipient against whom is rendered, twice within any 3-year 
period, a judgment or conviction for the same offense, or similar 
offenses, if each judgment or conviction constitutes a cause for 
debarment.

SEC. 4. DISCLOSURE IN APPLICATIONS.

  (a) Requirement.--Not later than 180 days after the date of the 
enactment of this Act, Federal regulations shall be amended to require 
that in applying for any Federal grant or submitting a proposal or bid 
for any Federal contract a person shall disclose in writing information 
described in section 2(b).
  (b) Covered Contracts and Grants.--This section shall apply only to 
contracts and grants in an amount greater than the simplified 
acquisition threshold, as defined in section 4(11) of the Office of 
Federal Procurement Policy Act (41 U.S.C. 401(11)).

SEC. 5. ROLE OF INTERAGENCY COMMITTEE.

  (a) Requirement.--The Interagency Committee on Debarment and 
Suspension shall--
          (1) resolve issues regarding which of several Federal 
        agencies is the lead agency having responsibility to initiate 
        suspension or debarment proceedings;
          (2) coordinate actions among interested agencies with respect 
        to such action;
          (3) encourage and assist Federal agencies in entering into 
        cooperative efforts to pool resources and achieve operational 
        efficiencies in the governmentwide suspension and debarment 
        system;
          (4) recommend to the Office of Management and Budget changes 
        to Government suspension and debarment system and its rules, if 
        such recommendations are approved by a majority of the 
        Interagency Committee;
          (5) authorize the Office of Management and Budget to issue 
        guidelines that implement those recommendations;
          (6) authorize the chair of the Committee to establish 
        subcommittees as appropriate to best enable the Interagency 
        Committee to carry out its functions; and
          (7) submit to the Congress an annual report on--
                  (A) the progress and efforts to improve the 
                suspension and debarment system;
                  (B) member agencies' active participation in the 
                committee's work; and
                  (C) a summary of each agency's activities and 
                accomplishments in the governmentwide debarment system.
  (b) Definition.--The term ``Interagency Committee on Debarment and 
Suspension'' means such committee constituted under sections 4 and 5 
and of Executive Order 12549.

SEC. 6. AUTHORIZATION OF INDEPENDENT AGENCIES.

  Any agency, commission, or organization of the Federal Government to 
which Executive Order 12549 does not apply is authorized to participate 
in the governmentwide suspension and debarment system and may recognize 
the suspension or debarment issued by an executive branch agency in its 
own procurement or assistance activities.

SEC. 7. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS.

  There are authorized to be appropriated to the Administrator of 
General Services such funds as may be necessary to establish the 
database described in section 2.

SEC. 8. REPORT TO CONGRESS.

  (a) Report Required.--Not later than 180 days after the date of the 
enactment of this Act, the Administrator of General Services shall 
submit to Congress a report.
  (b) Contents of Report.--The report shall contain the following:
          (1) A list of all databases that include information about 
        Federal contracting and Federal grants.
          (2) Recommendations for further legislation or administrative 
        action that the Administrator considers appropriate to create a 
        centralized, comprehensive Federal contracting and Federal 
        grant database.

                          PURPOSE AND SUMMARY

    H.R. 3033, the Contractors and Federal Spending 
Accountability Act of 2007, was introduced by Rep. Carolyn 
Maloney on July 12, 2007. The bill requires creation of a 
database including information on government proceedings 
relating to government contractors and grant recipients for use 
in assessing contractor responsibility. The bill also requires 
that contractors and grant recipients must present evidence to 
establish their present responsibility if they have two 
convictions or judgments for the same or similar offenses in a 
three-year period, if each conviction or judgment is a cause 
for suspension or debarment.

                  BACKGROUND AND NEED FOR LEGISLATION

    Government contracting officers may award contracts only to 
responsible contractors. A responsible contractor is one that 
possesses the technical capability and financial capacity to 
fully perform the requirements of the contract, as well as the 
business integrity to justify the award of public tax dollars.
    There is no accurate, centralized, comprehensive listing of 
criminal, civil, and administrative proceedings concluded by 
the federal and state governments relating to contractors. 
Prospective federal contractors are not required to disclose 
all relevant criminal, civil, or administrative rulings or 
resolutions during the federal procurement process. Without 
such a database or disclosure, federal contracting officers and 
suspension and debarment officials lack important information 
relevant to present responsibility.
    This legislation seeks to strengthen the government's 
capability to more comprehensively review a contractor's record 
of performance and integrity, so that the government can better 
assess responsibility and risk in the contract award process.

                          LEGISLATIVE HISTORY

    H.R. 3033, the Contractors and Federal Spending 
Accountability Act of 2007, was introduced by Rep. Carolyn 
Maloney on July 12, 2007, and referred to the Committee on 
Oversight and Government Reform.
    The Subcommittee on Government Management, Organization, 
and Procurement held a hearing on H.R. 3033 on July 18, 2007. 
The witnesses were William Woods, Director, Acquisition and 
Sourcing Management, Government Accountability Office; William 
Desmond, Associate Administrator, National Nuclear Security 
Administration, Department of Energy, accompanied by Tyler 
Przybylek, Senior Adviser to the Administrator, National 
Nuclear Security Administration, Department of Energy; Gregory 
Friedman, Inspector General, U.S. Department of Energy; Elaine 
Duke, Chief Procurement Officer, Department of Homeland 
Security; Richard Skinner, Inspector General, Department of 
Homeland Security; Robin Smith, former Wackenhut security 
supervisor at DHS headquarters; Lawrence Brede, Senior Vice 
President, DOE Operations, Wackenhut Services Inc.; and Scott 
Amey, General Counsel, Project on Government Oversight.
    The Subcommittee on Government Management, Organization, 
and Procurement held an additional hearing on H.R. 3033 on 
March 11, 2007. The witnesses were Paul A. Denett, 
Administrator for Federal Procurement Policy, Office of 
Management and Budget; John Hutton, Director of Acquisition and 
Sourcing Management, U.S. Government Accountability Office; 
Marcia Madsen, Chair of the Acquisition Advisory Panel; Scott 
Amey, General Counsel, Project on Government Oversight (POGO); 
and Alan Chvotkin, Senior Vice President and Counsel, 
Professional Services Council.
    The Subcommittee held a markup to consider H.R. 3033 on 
March 11, 2007, and ordered the bill to be favorably reported, 
as amended, by voice vote.
    The Committee held a markup to consider H.R. 3033 on March 
13, 2007, and ordered the bill to be favorably reported, as 
amended, by voice vote.

                           SECTION-BY-SECTION

Section 1: Short title

    The short title of the bill is the Contractors and Federal 
Spending Accountability Act of 2008.

Section 2: Database for contracting officers and suspension and 
        debarment officials

    This section requires the Director of OMB and Administrator 
of General Services to establish a database regarding integrity 
and performance of federal contractors and grant recipients.
    Subsection (b) requires that the database include a 
description of civil, criminal, and administrative proceedings 
concluded by the federal and state governments against federal 
contractors or grant recipients; all terminations for default 
of federal contracts and grants; all federal suspensions and 
debarments; all federal administrative agreements to resolve a 
suspension or debarment proceeding and, to the maximum extent 
practicable, such agreements with states; and all final 
findings by a federal official that the person is not a 
responsible source as defined in federal procurement law. The 
database includes such information for the most recent five 
years.
    Subsection (c) requires federal agency officials to 
directly input and update information in the database; requires 
procedures to ensure the accuracy and timeliness of the 
information; and permits contractors and grant recipients to 
append comments to information in the database.
    Subsection (d) requires that the database be publicly 
available through the General Services Administration (GSA) 
website, with the exception of information that is exempt from 
public disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act.

Section 3: Suspension and debarment procedure for repeat violators

    This section requires that suspension and debarment 
regulations be revised so that contractors and grant recipients 
are issued a notice of proposed debarment which would require 
presentation of evidence to establish their present 
responsibility if they have two convictions or judgments for 
the same of similar offenses in a three-year period, if each 
conviction or judgment is a cause for suspension or debarment.

Section 4: Disclosure in applications

    This section requires revision of regulations so that 
offers for contracts and applications for grants in an amount 
exceeding the simplified acquisition threshold must provide the 
information required to be included in the database.

Section 5: Role of Interagency Committee

    This section requires the Interagency Committee on 
Debarment and Suspension, as established in Executive Order 
12549, with respect to the government-wide system of suspension 
and debarment to resolve issues regarding which federal agency 
is the lead agency having responsibility to initiate 
proceedings; coordinate actions among interested agencies; 
encourage pooled resources to achieve operational efficiencies; 
recommend rules changes to OMB (if such recommendations are 
approved by a majority of the Interagency Committee); authorize 
OMB to issue guidelines that implement those recommendations; 
authorize the chair of the Committee to establish subcommittees 
as appropriate; and submit to the Congress an annual report on 
progress and efforts to improve the system, member agencies' 
active participation in the committee's work, and a summary of 
each agency's activities and accomplishments in the system.

Section 6: Authorization of independent agencies

    This section authorizes any federal entity not covered by 
Executive Order 12549 to participate in the government-wide 
suspension and debarment system.

Section 7: Authorization of appropriations

    This section authorizes appropriations to GSA for the 
establishment of the database.

Section 8: Report to Congress

    This section requires a report to Congress describing all 
federal contracting and grant databases and recommending 
legislative or administrative action to create a comprehensive, 
streamlines database.

                       EXPLANATION OF AMENDMENTS

    At the Subcommittee markup on March 11, 2008, Mr. Towns 
offered an amendment in the nature of a substitute, which 
passed by voice vote. This amendment (1) struck factual 
findings; (2) provided that the Director of the Office of 
Management and Budget oversee the database; (3) provided that 
only civil, criminal, and administrative proceedings that have 
been concluded be included in the database; (4) removed 
suspension and debarment show cause orders as information 
required to be included in the database; (5) added final 
findings that a person is not a responsible source to the 
information required to be included in the database; (6) 
required the Administrator for General Services to develop 
policies to ensure the timeliness and accuracy of information 
in the database; (7) permitted contractors and grantees to 
append comments to information in the database; (8) excluded 
information exempt from disclosure under the Freedom of 
Information Act from the public database; (9) eliminated the 
presumption of nonresponsibility for repeat violators and 
replaced it with a requirement that repeat violators be issued 
a notice of proposed debarment and show cause why they are 
presently responsible; (10) conformed the section on 
disclosures required in applications to the information 
required to be included in the database; and (11) struck 
surplus definitions.
    At the Committee markup on March 13, 2008, Mr. Waxman 
offered an amendment in the nature of a substitute that defined 
administrative agreements as agreements between a person and 
the federal government to resolve a suspension or debarment 
proceeding and similar agreements with state governments.

                        COMMITTEE CONSIDERATION

    On Thursday, March 13, 2008, the Committee met in open 
session and favorably ordered H.R. 3928 to be reported, as 
amended, to the House by a voice vote.

                             ROLLCALL VOTES

    No rollcall votes were held.

              APPLICATION OF LAW TO THE LEGISLATIVE BRANCH

    Section 102(b)(3) of Public Law 104-1 requires a 
description of the application of this bill to the legislative 
branch where the bill relates to terms and conditions of 
employment or access to public services and accommodations. The 
bill does not relate to employment or access to public services 
and accommodations.

  STATEMENT OF OVERSIGHT FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE COMMITTEE

    In compliance with clause 3(c)(1) of rule XIII and clause 
(2)(b)(1) of rule X of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives, the Committee's oversight findings and 
recommendations are reflected in the descriptive portions of 
this report.

         STATEMENT OF GENERAL PERFORMANCE GOALS AND OBJECTIVES

    In accordance with clause 3(c)(4) of rule XIII of the Rules 
of the House of Representatives, the Committee's performance 
goals and objectives are reflected in the descriptive portions 
of this report, including improving the efficiency and 
transparency of federal procurement.

                   CONSTITUTIONAL AUTHORITY STATEMENT

    Under clause 3(d)(1) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House 
of Representatives, the Committee must include a statement 
citing the specific powers granted to Congress to enact the law 
proposed by H.R. 3033. Article I, section 8, clause 18 of the 
Constitution of the United States grants the Congress the power 
to enact this law.

                     FEDERAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE ACT

    The Committee finds that the legislation does not establish 
or authorize the establishment of an advisory committee within 
the definition of 5 U.S.C. App., section 5(b).

                      UNFUNDED MANDATES STATEMENT

    Section 423 of the Congressional Budget and Impoundment 
Control Act (as amended by section 101(a)(2) of the Unfunded 
Mandates Reform Act, P.L. 104-4) requires a statement on 
whether the provisions of the report include unfunded mandates. 
In compliance with this requirement the Committee has received 
a letter from the Congressional Budget Office included herein.

                         EARMARK IDENTIFICATION

    H.R. 3033 does not include any congressional earmarks, 
limited tax benefits, or limited tariff benefits as defined in 
clause 9(d), 9(e), or 9(f) of rule XXI.

                           COMMITTEE ESTIMATE

    Clause 3(d)(2) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives requires an estimate and a comparison by the 
Committee of the costs that would be incurred in carrying out 
H.R. 3033. However, clause 3(d)(3)(B) of that rule provides 
that this requirement does not apply when the Committee has 
included in its report a timely submitted cost estimate of the 
bill prepared by the Director of the Congressional Budget 
Office under section 402 of the Congressional Budget Act.

     BUDGET AUTHORITY AND CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE COST ESTIMATE

    With respect to the requirements of clause 3(c)(2) of rule 
XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives and section 
308(a) of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974 and with respect 
to requirements of clause 3(c)(3) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives and section 402 of the 
Congressional Budget Act of 1974, the Committee has received 
the following cost estimate for H.R. 3033 from the Director of 
the Congressional Budget Office:

                                                    April 11, 2008.
Hon. Henry A. Waxman,
Chairman, Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, House of 
        Representatives, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 3033, the 
Contractors and Federal Spending Accountability Act of 2008.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Matthew 
Pickford.
            Sincerely,
                                                   Peter R. Orszag.
    Enclosure.

H.R. 3033--Contractors and Federal Spending Accountability Act of 2008

    Summary: H.R. 3033 would require the Administrator of the 
General Services Administration (GSA) to establish and maintain 
a comprehensive and publicly accessible list of certain 
criminal, civil, and administrative proceedings against federal 
contractors and grant recipients. The bill also would require 
new regulations for federal contractors, impose new 
responsibilities on the Interagency Committee on Debarment and 
Suspension (ISDC), and require a report to the Congress on 
federal contracting and grants.
    CBO estimates that implementing H.R. 3033 would cost $5 
million in 2009 and about $20 million over the 2009-2013 
period, assuming appropriation of the necessary amounts. 
Enacting the legislation would not affect direct spending or 
revenues. The bill contains no intergovernmental or private-
sector mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act 
(UMRA) and would impose no costs on state, local, or tribal 
governments.
    Estimated cost to the Federal Government: The estimated 
budgetary impact of H.R. 3033 is shown in the following table. 
The cost of this legislation falls within budget function 800 
(general government).

------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                      By fiscal year, in millions of
                                                 dollars--
                                 ---------------------------------------
                                   2009    2010    2011    2012    2013
------------------------------------------------------------------------
              CHANGES IN SPENDING SUBJECT TO APPROPRIATION

Estimated Authorization Level...       5       5       4       3       3
Estimated Outlays...............       5       5       4       3       3
------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Basis of estimate: For this estimate, CBO assumes that the 
bill will be enacted near the start of fiscal year 2009, that 
the necessary funds will be provided for each year, and that 
spending will follow historical patterns for similar programs.
    Under current law, the Federal Acquisition Regulation 
requires all federal agencies to procure goods and services 
only from contractors determined to be ``responsible.'' To 
assess a contractor's responsibility, a contracting officer may 
use a variety of databases, such as the Web-based Excluded 
Parties List System, which provides information about whether 
or not a contractor is debarred or suspended from government 
contracting, or the Past Performance Information Retrieval 
System, which contains information on the past performance of 
contractors doing work for the government. In addition, 
contractors provide certifications in which they verify whether 
they have been involved in civil and criminal proceedings 
during the previous three years.
    H.R. 3033 would establish a single comprehensive database 
of federal spending that would be available through a public 
Web site. That database would list all entities receiving 
federal funds and information on the integrity and performance 
of federal contracts and grant recipients. In addition, the 
legislation would require agencies to initiate debarment 
proceedings against any federal contractor that has faced two 
adverse rulings within a three-year period. H.R. 3033 also 
would provide new authorities for the ISDC, and require GSA to 
provide to the Congress a list of all databases concerning 
federal contractors and grants and to recommend procedures to 
centralize that information.
    According to OMB, GSA, and private firms, the government 
currently collects much of the information necessary to create 
a comprehensive database on the integrity and performance of 
federal contractors and grantees. CBO estimates that updating 
and expanding those efforts and adding a search engine through 
a Web site to create a single comprehensive database would cost 
about $10 million over the 2009-2010 period. Those amounts 
include the costs of new regulations, additional government-
wide training, and the annual report to the Congress. CBO also 
estimates that it would cost between $3 million and $4 million 
in subsequent years to maintain the database and for ISDC to 
undertake its additional responsibilities.
    Intergovernmental and private-sector impact: H.R. 3033 
contains no intergovernmental or private-sector mandates as 
defined in UMRA. The bill would require state, local, and 
tribal governments to provide OMB with information on how they 
spend money received from the federal government. Such 
requirements could be costly to intergovernmental entities, but 
any costs would result from complying with conditions for 
federal assistance.
    Estimate prepared by: Federal Costs: Matthew Pickford; 
Impact on State, Local, and Tribal Governments: Elizabeth Cove; 
Impact on the Private Sector: Paige Piper/Bach.
    Estimate approved by: Theresa Gullo, Deputy Assistant 
Director for Budget Analysis.

         CHANGES IN EXISTING LAW MADE BY THE BILL, AS REPORTED

    There are no changes made to existing law made by the bill, 
as reported.

              ADDITIONAL VIEWS OF RANKING MEMBER TOM DAVIS

    H.R. 3033 has been improved since the bill was introduced. 
The original version would have created a draconian enforcement 
measure, establishing a ``blacklist'' which would defame and 
degrade firms merely accused of wrongdoing--not necessarily 
convicted, simply accused. It is unclear what beneficial 
purpose would be served by the collection of this information. 
Fortunately, the Chairman and the sponsor were open to my 
suggestion to revise the bill to include those civil, criminal 
and administrative proceedings ``concluded'' as opposed to 
merely ``initiated.'' This makes H.R. 3033 a much better bill, 
but it still is not a good bill.
    It is difficult to argue against contracting officers 
having available to them information concerning ``concluded'' 
state and federal civil, criminal and administrative 
proceedings and federal suspensions, debarments and default 
terminations. However, much of this information likely will 
have no meaning or be irrelevant to the required determination 
that a firm is a responsible prospective contractor.
    Further, the publication of information contained in 
administrative agreements made in connection with a proposed 
debarment or suspension raises concerns. When these agreements 
are executed, the debarment proceeding is not concluded--there 
is no decision to debar. The inclusion of information regarding 
agreements to resolve state debarment proceedings raises even 
more concerns as we simply do not know how various state 
proceedings are conducted and what type of information might be 
subject to disclosure. While much of this information to be 
included in the database would have a clear purpose for 
acquisition officials, the value of placing information on a 
public website is not clear. The only purpose would be to 
``punish'' or intimidate firms based on allegations.
    The most problematic section of H.R. 3033, however, is 
section 3--the ``two strikes and you're out'' provision. This 
section would mandate the automatic initiation of debarment 
proceedings against firms convicted of two offenses which 
otherwise would be a cause for debarment. It is appropriate to 
use the debarment process to prevent ``bad actors'' from 
getting federal contracts. But there is no need to limit the 
discretion of the government's debarment officials in bringing 
these actions at the appropriate time. Again, this smacks of 
``punishment.''
    Moreover, the consequences of the provision have not been 
thought out carefully. It is possible firms could come within 
the terms of the provision and be banned from the federal 
market. This would have disastrous consequences for the 
government and the firm. Acquisition officials should be 
allowed to exercise discretion in determining whether debarment 
is appropriate under the circumstances. And to use the 
debarment process as it was intended--to protect the 
government, not punish businesses.
    I fail to see how this bill will improve our acquisition 
system. I fail to see how it will improve our ability to get 
the best value goods and services we need at fair and 
reasonable prices. Furthermore, I believe this bill will raise 
yet another significant barrier to entry for companies that may 
be considering entering the federal market.
    For these reasons, I do not support H.R. 3033 in its 
current form.

                                                         Tom Davis.