Jul 25 2007
Dr. Coburn and Senator DeMint have offered an amendment to the fiscal year 2008 Department of Homeland Security (DHS) appropriations bill that would prohibit Congress from earmarking “no bid” government grants and contracts within DHS.
Click here to read more about the Coburn/DeMint Amendment 2442.
The committee report accompanying the Senate DHS appropriations bill identifies 22 earmarks at a cost of at least $253 million. However, $35 million included in that total is earmarked for competitive awards through the Southeast Region Research Initiative at Oak Ridge National Laboratories. Of the earmarked spending identified in the committee report, it appears that at least 21 earmarks, totaling $218 million, will not be subject to full and open competition.
The DHS appropriations bill passed by the House of Representatives did not list earmarks and the House Appropriations Committee chairman has indicated that earmarks could be dropped into the bill during conference with the Senate.
All of the earmarks that will be contained in the final version of the bill, many of which will only be disclosed in the final bill that can not be amended, are essentially “no bid” grants or contracts directed towards pre-selected, individual recipients.
A “no-bid” grant or contract is government funding that is provided directly to an entity that bypasses the standard process for awarding government funding in which competing bids are solicited in order to select the most cost efficient and qualified entity to perform a service.
This amendment would prohibit awarding earmarked funds in the form of no-bid grants or non-competitive contracts. This would mean, in practice, that all earmarks would be competitively bid rather than directed to a pre-selected recipient.
Agencies will also be required to provide a report to Congress every year with the name of the recipients of the funds awarded, the reasons the recipient was selected and the number of entities that competed for the earmark contract.
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