Shea-Porter Amendment Holding Subcontractors Accountable for Unpaid Debt Passes House

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter’s amendment to hold subcontractors accountable for unpaid taxes, which was adopted by the House Armed Services Committee, passed the House as part of the IMPROVE Acquisition Act. Shea-Porter’s amendment strengthened provisions in the bill to require subcontractors to disclose seriously delinquent debt.  Shea-Porter, who spoke on the House floor, urged her colleagues to vote in favor of the legislation.

Accountability in the contracting process is critical to protect taxpayer dollars,” Shea-Porter said. “My amendment will hold the first-tier subcontractors accountable by adding a certification requirement to ensure that they too do not have unpaid taxes. Those who have incurred a significant tax debt – and have avoided paying it – should not be eligible for defense contracts.  There is no reason for the government to pay money through a contract to those who owe money to the government in taxes.”  

According to a recent Government Accountability Office report, 63,000 federal contractors had total tax debts of $7.7 billion in 2007.  These contractors profit through taxpayer dollars, but refuse to pay their own taxes.

Shea-Porter’s amendment was part of the IMPROVE Acquisition Act.  This legislation, which passed the House 417 to 3, will overhaul the defense acquisition system by:

    • requiring the Department of Defense (DoD) to set clear objectives for the defense acquisition system and manage performance in achieving those objectives,
    • requiring the DOD to develop meaningful consequences for success and failure in financial management in order to achieve a clean audit by September 2017,
    • strengthening and revitalizing the acquisition workforce,
    • introducing real accountability into the requirements process and creating a requirements process for the acquisition of services,
    • developing meaningful consequences for success or failure in financial management, and
    • strengthening the industrial base to enhance competition thereby reducing costs to the taxpayer, and to gain access to more innovative technology.

The bill cleans up defense acquisition spending, saves taxpayers an estimated $27 billion a year, and gets necessary equipment to our troops more quickly,” Shea-Porter said.