6:22 PM EDT

Tom Davis, R-VA 11th

Mr. DAVIS of Virginia. Mr. Chairman, let me begin by thanking my good friend and colleague, the gentleman from Virginia (Mr. MORAN), for offering this amendment with me today. This is the Davis-Moran amendment.

Last summer, the administration first proposed regulations that would significantly change our procurement process, jeopardizing the bipartisan procurement reforms of the past few years.

At that time, myself and really hundreds of Members of the private sector had concerns that we expressed at that point. We felt that the administration had drafted overly broad regulations that would violate due process rights of supportive contractors and substantially affect the Federal Government's ability to acquire goods and services at the best value.

We have tried through the years of this administration to work in a bipartisan manner on procurement reform. We have had several successes: The Federal Acquisition Reform Act, the Federal Acquisition Streamlining Act, where we have worked in a bipartisan way together.

Unfortunately, some of the regulations that are currently presented I think are really miscast and take us backwards in terms of procurement reform.

On June 30, 2000, the administration reissued the proposed regulations, portraying them as a clarification of the non-responsibility criteria a contracting officer may use to disqualify a contractor from competing for a Federal contract. Specifically, their stated intention is to clarify what constitutes a satisfactory record of business ethics and integrity.

But the proposed regulations constitute a substantial change to procurement law. They run counter to the existing procurement standards. For that reason, we feel at this point, pending a GAO audit which will show exactly the depth of the problems the administration is trying to correct, pending that audit coming back here, we believe we should put these on hold. For that reason, we are offering this amendment.

For the first time under the proposed regulations, the contracting officers would be required to consider certain nonprocurement laws when reviewing bids without a minimum standard. This would signify when a contractor has met the existing requirement of a satisfactory record of integrity and business ethics.

In trying to clarify this, they are taking a number of nonjudicial decisions, decisions in some cases that have unilaterally come forward from the Federal government in terms of charges which the contractors had no opportunity to rebut. They have taken this, and could be debarred from that and a series of contracts with simply allegations.

Mr. Chairman, I would say that in many of these cases where we get allegations and charges coming from the government, many of these cases, over half of them, are dismissed later, not prosecuted because they are not well-founded. But under this procedure, contracting officers would have to pay attention to this.

This with respect to Federal contractors I think would seriously harm our ability to get the best value for goods and services. This amendment would stop these regulations from moving forward until we have an opportunity to review the GAO audit.

6:22 PM EDT

Tom Davis, R-VA 11th

Mr. DAVIS of Virginia. Mr. Chairman, let me begin by thanking my good friend and colleague, the gentleman from Virginia (Mr. MORAN), for offering this amendment with me today. This is the Davis-Moran amendment.

Last summer, the administration first proposed regulations that would significantly change our procurement process, jeopardizing the bipartisan procurement reforms of the past few years.

At that time, myself and really hundreds of Members of the private sector had concerns that we expressed at that point. We felt that the administration had drafted overly broad regulations that would violate due process rights of supportive contractors and substantially affect the Federal Government's ability to acquire goods and services at the best value.

We have tried through the years of this administration to work in a bipartisan manner on procurement reform. We have had several successes: The Federal Acquisition Reform Act, the Federal Acquisition Streamlining Act, where we have worked in a bipartisan way together.

Unfortunately, some of the regulations that are currently presented I think are really miscast and take us backwards in terms of procurement reform.

On June 30, 2000, the administration reissued the proposed regulations, portraying them as a clarification of the non-responsibility criteria a contracting officer may use to disqualify a contractor from competing for a Federal contract. Specifically, their stated intention is to clarify what constitutes a satisfactory record of business ethics and integrity.

But the proposed regulations constitute a substantial change to procurement law. They run counter to the existing procurement standards. For that reason, we feel at this point, pending a GAO audit which will show exactly the depth of the problems the administration is trying to correct, pending that audit coming back here, we believe we should put these on hold. For that reason, we are offering this amendment.

For the first time under the proposed regulations, the contracting officers would be required to consider certain nonprocurement laws when reviewing bids without a minimum standard. This would signify when a contractor has met the existing requirement of a satisfactory record of integrity and business ethics.

In trying to clarify this, they are taking a number of nonjudicial decisions, decisions in some cases that have unilaterally come forward from the Federal government in terms of charges which the contractors had no opportunity to rebut. They have taken this, and could be debarred from that and a series of contracts with simply allegations.

Mr. Chairman, I would say that in many of these cases where we get allegations and charges coming from the government, many of these cases, over half of them, are dismissed later, not prosecuted because they are not well-founded. But under this procedure, contracting officers would have to pay attention to this.

This with respect to Federal contractors I think would seriously harm our ability to get the best value for goods and services. This amendment would stop these regulations from moving forward until we have an opportunity to review the GAO audit.

6:22 PM EDT

Tom Davis, R-VA 11th

Mr. DAVIS of Virginia. Mr. Chairman, let me begin by thanking my good friend and colleague, the gentleman from Virginia (Mr. MORAN), for offering this amendment with me today. This is the Davis-Moran amendment.

Last summer, the administration first proposed regulations that would significantly change our procurement process, jeopardizing the bipartisan procurement reforms of the past few years.

At that time, myself and really hundreds of Members of the private sector had concerns that we expressed at that point. We felt that the administration had drafted overly broad regulations that would violate due process rights of supportive contractors and substantially affect the Federal Government's ability to acquire goods and services at the best value.

We have tried through the years of this administration to work in a bipartisan manner on procurement reform. We have had several successes: The Federal Acquisition Reform Act, the Federal Acquisition Streamlining Act, where we have worked in a bipartisan way together.

Unfortunately, some of the regulations that are currently presented I think are really miscast and take us backwards in terms of procurement reform.

On June 30, 2000, the administration reissued the proposed regulations, portraying them as a clarification of the non-responsibility criteria a contracting officer may use to disqualify a contractor from competing for a Federal contract. Specifically, their stated intention is to clarify what constitutes a satisfactory record of business ethics and integrity.

But the proposed regulations constitute a substantial change to procurement law. They run counter to the existing procurement standards. For that reason, we feel at this point, pending a GAO audit which will show exactly the depth of the problems the administration is trying to correct, pending that audit coming back here, we believe we should put these on hold. For that reason, we are offering this amendment.

For the first time under the proposed regulations, the contracting officers would be required to consider certain nonprocurement laws when reviewing bids without a minimum standard. This would signify when a contractor has met the existing requirement of a satisfactory record of integrity and business ethics.

In trying to clarify this, they are taking a number of nonjudicial decisions, decisions in some cases that have unilaterally come forward from the Federal government in terms of charges which the contractors had no opportunity to rebut. They have taken this, and could be debarred from that and a series of contracts with simply allegations.

Mr. Chairman, I would say that in many of these cases where we get allegations and charges coming from the government, many of these cases, over half of them, are dismissed later, not prosecuted because they are not well-founded. But under this procedure, contracting officers would have to pay attention to this.

This with respect to Federal contractors I think would seriously harm our ability to get the best value for goods and services. This amendment would stop these regulations from moving forward until we have an opportunity to review the GAO audit.

6:30 PM EDT

Jim Moran, D-VA 8th

Mr. MORAN of Virginia. Mr. Chairman, I rise in very strong support of this amendment offered by my friend, the gentleman from Virginia (Mr. DAVIS).

As the gentleman has stated, this amendment would simply prohibit funds from being expended to implement the administration's contractor responsibility rules until the General Accounting Office completes an ongoing study of them. We are not trying to kill the rules, we are just saying the GAO ought to look into the basis for them and make a determination as to what is the problem, and then suggest some remedy for that problem, if a problem exists.

Let me emphasize at the outset that the gentleman from Virginia (Mr. DAVIS), the gentlemen from California, Mr. OSE and Mr. DOOLEY, myself, and a number of Members from both sides of the aisle have been involved with this issue for almost a year.

When the rule was first proposed, we met with administration officials to express deep concerns about the rule's justification and about its potential impact on the industries and the workers in our districts. We questioned whether contracting officers are really equipped to apply a wide array of complex Federal laws to routine procurement decisions.

We are asking these contracting officers to be familiar with all of the Federal laws, to make some determination as to whether there is satisfactory compliance with all the Federal laws before they carry out their responsibilities as to who is eligible for bidding on a contract and who ought to get that contract.

Many of us were concerned that the rule runs completely contrary to the procurement reforms that I believe are a major achievement of the Clinton-Gore administration.

Unfortunately, very little has changed in the year in which we have been working with the administration. Our questions have not been fully resolved. The contractor responsibility rule remains a solution in search of a problem. At no point has the administration furnished us with an adequate justification for why this new rule is necessary, despite the fact that it could adversely affect thousands of American workers employed by high-tech companies, by small and large businesses, defense contractors,

and institutions of higher education.

The rule would vastly expand the power of Federal contracting officers under existing procurement law. They could cite a single adverse finding by an administrative law judge, a complaint from a Federal agency, or an order or decision from an agency as a reason to disqualify a contractor from doing business with the Federal government.

Unlike existing law, there would be no requirement for a nexus between the alleged violation of Federal law and the contractor's ability to perform the contract. We are trying to get contracts awarded to people who can perform the contract, and these things can potentially be totally unrelated to the ability to perform the contract.

I do not believe we should put Federal contracting officers in that position. They should not have to determine whether a company's compliance with a wide range of Federal laws, unrelated to the performance of a contract, is sufficient to allow the company to do business with the Federal government. There is no way that they can have that kind of information.

The only guidance the rule provides in allowing contracting officers to make a nonresponsibility determination is the vague and potentially arbitrary standard of ``credible information.'' What is ``credible information?'' It is entirely up to the contracting officer to determine what that means, ``credible information.'' It can mean a complaint, it can mean a rumor, whatever they determine to be credible information.

Let me emphasize that the importance of this issue extends far beyond the many industries that are potentially affected by the rule. Consider, for example, the comments of Stanley Ikenberry, the President of the American Council on Education.

I quote: ``American colleges and universities, which receive over $18 billion annually in Federal grants and contracts, would be directly affected by these proposed regulations.'' He said these ``revisions could have the result of creating a `blacklist' of contractors ......'', and this is his word, ``a blacklist of contractors.''

[Time: 18:30]

Mr. Ikenberry continues, ``The strong and cooperative relationship between the Federal Government and the country's colleges and universities has reaped countless gains for each party and for the Nation as a whole through the contracting process. In the interest of furthering that relationship, we urge your support of the Davis/Moran amendment to H.R. 4871.''

This is Dr. Ikenberry's letter. It was sent on behalf of the American Council on Education, the Association of American Universities, and a number of other groups that represent American Higher Education. American Higher Education is scared of this regulation. They strongly support this amendment. Mr. Chairman, it should be adopted.

Mr. Chairman, again, this amendment needs to be adopted. The blacklisting rule makes Federal procurement much more complicated, not less so.

It is contrary to the procurement reforms that this administration has achieved. It confers excessive new authority on Federal contract officers without a justification. It could potentially stifle innovation and job growth for thousands of American workers.

This amendment needs to be adopted, and I strongly urge that the Congress do so. Again, I appreciate the gentleman from Virginia (Mr. DAVIS) for introducing this amendment.

The CHAIRMAN pro tempore (Mr. PEASE). The gentleman from Virginia (Mr. DAVIS) has 1 1/2 minutes remaining.

Does any Member seek to claim the time in opposition?

6:31 PM EDT

Steny Hoyer, D-MD 5th

Mr. HOYER. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself 1 minute.

Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to this amendment. The amendment is argued passionately for by the gentleman from Virginia. The Clinton administration's proposed contractor responsibility reforms simply clarifies and reinforces the long-standing rule that requires government to do business only with responsible contractors.

Now, Mr. Chairman, how often have we heard that a contractor was doing business for the Government, making a lot of money, and was a major polluter? How often have we heard that the contractor was a major violator of OSHA or other labor provisions? How often have we heard that and responded that, how do we do this?

Why do we do this? Should we not do business with people who comply with the rules, regulations, and laws of our country? Should not we advantage those contractors who seek to comply? The regulations that have been promulgated here I suggest to my colleagues are reasonable regulations, and we ought to allow them to go forward and reject this amendment.

6:31 PM EDT

Steny Hoyer, D-MD 5th

Mr. HOYER. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself 1 minute.

Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to this amendment. The amendment is argued passionately for by the gentleman from Virginia. The Clinton administration's proposed contractor responsibility reforms simply clarifies and reinforces the long-standing rule that requires government to do business only with responsible contractors.

Now, Mr. Chairman, how often have we heard that a contractor was doing business for the Government, making a lot of money, and was a major polluter? How often have we heard that the contractor was a major violator of OSHA or other labor provisions? How often have we heard that and responded that, how do we do this?

Why do we do this? Should we not do business with people who comply with the rules, regulations, and laws of our country? Should not we advantage those contractors who seek to comply? The regulations that have been promulgated here I suggest to my colleagues are reasonable regulations, and we ought to allow them to go forward and reject this amendment.

6:33 PM EDT

Major R. Owens, D-NY 11th

Mr. OWENS. Mr. Chairman, the previous speakers have greatly overstated their case. The overkill is amazing. To protect the Government's interest, laws have been on the books for decades requiring that the Government can only give Federal contracts to responsible contractors, that has been there all the time, those with a satisfactory record of financial and technical capability, performance, and business ethics and integrity.

The only thing that is happening now is that the administration has moved to clarify this and pinpoint more exactly what it means by responsible contractors. That is what is new. We do not need another study by the GAO. For decades, they have been observing and studying, and there is a whole body of experience that goes into the need to clarify what we mean by responsible contractor.

Last month, the administration issued a proposal to clarify the rules for determining who is a responsible contractor. The proposed regulations clarify that a relevant factor in deciding whether a contractor meets a responsibility test is its record of complying with the law. I mean, is that not easy enough to understand, a record of complying with the law, the tax law, labor and employment law, consumer protection laws, environmental law, and other Federal laws?

This is a modest common sense proposal that furthers the Government's interest in efficient, economical, and responsible contracting. It stands for and reinforces an important principle. Taxpayer-funded government contracts should go to responsible contractors with respect for the law.

All across the Nation, there are certain municipalities and towns and States that have laws which already go much further than this. One cannot get a contract in certain places unless one has complied with the law and one does not have a record of having violated the law. But this does not go that far. It does not blacklist anybody for having violated a law at once.

Opponents have attacked the proposal, saying it is a blacklist. These claims are unfounded. Nothing in the proposed clarifying rules will create a blacklist, nothing that prohibits contractors from bidding on future property. It is far too generous.

6:35 PM EDT

Connie Morella, R-MD 8th

Mrs. MORELLA. Mr. Chairman, quite frankly, I am in support of the Davis-Moran amendment. We fully agree, I think, on this floor that the Federal Government should do business with ethical and law-abiding companies, and that is why Congress, working with the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, has passed already a substantial body of statutes to which the Federal contractors must adhere. We do not need this blacklisting regulation. I, therefore, urge this body to support the Davis-Moran amendment.

6:35 PM EDT

Connie Morella, R-MD 8th

Mrs. MORELLA. Mr. Chairman, quite frankly, I am in support of the Davis-Moran amendment. We fully agree, I think, on this floor that the Federal Government should do business with ethical and law-abiding companies, and that is why Congress, working with the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, has passed already a substantial body of statutes to which the Federal contractors must adhere. We do not need this blacklisting regulation. I, therefore, urge this body to support the Davis-Moran amendment.

6:36 PM EDT

Peter "Pete" King, R-NY 3rd

Mr. KING. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman from Maryland for yielding me this time.

Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to the amendment proposed by the gentleman from Virginia (Mr. DAVIS) and the gentleman from Virginia (Mr. MORAN). In opposing this amendment, to me, the issue is one of simple fairness.

Very simply, I see no reason we in the Congress should delay implementation of regulations which require contractors to be responsible, to be in compliance with the law, all laws, environmental laws, labor laws; nor is there any reason the taxpayers' dollars, the dollars of hard-working Americans, should be used to reimburse the attorney's fees of contractors even when those contractors have been found guilty of violating labor laws.

Finally, Mr. Chairman, I see no reason why taxpayer money should be used to reimburse contractors the cost of conducting anti-union campaigns.

Mr. Chairman, very simply, I believe the contractors doing business with the Federal Government must be responsible. The taxpayers' money must not be squandered. I call for the defeat of this amendment.

6:36 PM EDT

Peter "Pete" King, R-NY 3rd

Mr. KING. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman from Maryland for yielding me this time.

Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to the amendment proposed by the gentleman from Virginia (Mr. DAVIS) and the gentleman from Virginia (Mr. MORAN). In opposing this amendment, to me, the issue is one of simple fairness.

Very simply, I see no reason we in the Congress should delay implementation of regulations which require contractors to be responsible, to be in compliance with the law, all laws, environmental laws, labor laws; nor is there any reason the taxpayers' dollars, the dollars of hard-working Americans, should be used to reimburse the attorney's fees of contractors even when those contractors have been found guilty of violating labor laws.

Finally, Mr. Chairman, I see no reason why taxpayer money should be used to reimburse contractors the cost of conducting anti-union campaigns.

Mr. Chairman, very simply, I believe the contractors doing business with the Federal Government must be responsible. The taxpayers' money must not be squandered. I call for the defeat of this amendment.

6:38 PM EDT

John P. Murtha Jr., D-PA 12th

Mr. MURTHA. Mr. Chairman, when the gentleman from Virginia (Mr. MORAN) first talked to me about this issue, I thought it sounded reasonable. I have been involved in a lot of disputes between labor and companies with the Defense Department.

I had some procurement officers come in to see me today, and they told me they need systematic guidance about how to deal with these contracts. Now, they believe that this kind of guidance that has been set up or proposed in these regulations is the type of regulation that they need in order to be able to consummate the contracts. In other words, if the person is not violating the law or a regulation, they go forward. If by some chance the contracting officer makes a mistake, they have a recourse;

and the recourse, of course, is appeal, and damages can be awarded to that particular company.

So if they have a legitimate bid, and they are not awarded the contract, and yet they would be otherwise, and it is very clear that the reason that they were not given the contract was because they did not comply with other Federal regulations or the law, then they have the recourse of going to the appeal and getting damages.

So I think we make a serious mistake if we were to delay these regulations at this time. I know my colleagues have been working a long time. But my feeling from the procurement officers themselves, the people that deal with this, is that they need guidance which says they are a systematic violation of the law or regulations, and that is the kind of guidance which helps them make a decision on whether to accept a contract or do not accept it.

So I would urge the Members to defeat this amendment.

6:39 PM EDT

John P. Murtha Jr., D-PA 12th

Mr. MURTHA. Mr. Chairman, when the gentleman from Virginia (Mr. MORAN) first talked to me about this issue, I thought it sounded reasonable. I have been involved in a lot of disputes between labor and companies with the Defense Department.

I had some procurement officers come in to see me today, and they told me they need systematic guidance about how to deal with these contracts. Now, they believe that this kind of guidance that has been set up or proposed in these regulations is the type of regulation that they need in order to be able to consummate the contracts. In other words, if the person is not violating the law or a regulation, they go forward. If by some chance the contracting officer makes a mistake, they have a recourse;

and the recourse, of course, is appeal, and damages can be awarded to that particular company.

So if they have a legitimate bid, and they are not awarded the contract, and yet they would be otherwise, and it is very clear that the reason that they were not given the contract was because they did not comply with other Federal regulations or the law, then they have the recourse of going to the appeal and getting damages.

So I think we make a serious mistake if we were to delay these regulations at this time. I know my colleagues have been working a long time. But my feeling from the procurement officers themselves, the people that deal with this, is that they need guidance which says they are a systematic violation of the law or regulations, and that is the kind of guidance which helps them make a decision on whether to accept a contract or do not accept it.

So I would urge the Members to defeat this amendment.

6:39 PM EDT

John P. Murtha Jr., D-PA 12th

Mr. MURTHA. Mr. Chairman, when the gentleman from Virginia (Mr. MORAN) first talked to me about this issue, I thought it sounded reasonable. I have been involved in a lot of disputes between labor and companies with the Defense Department.

I had some procurement officers come in to see me today, and they told me they need systematic guidance about how to deal with these contracts. Now, they believe that this kind of guidance that has been set up or proposed in these regulations is the type of regulation that they need in order to be able to consummate the contracts. In other words, if the person is not violating the law or a regulation, they go forward. If by some chance the contracting officer makes a mistake, they have a recourse;

and the recourse, of course, is appeal, and damages can be awarded to that particular company.

So if they have a legitimate bid, and they are not awarded the contract, and yet they would be otherwise, and it is very clear that the reason that they were not given the contract was because they did not comply with other Federal regulations or the law, then they have the recourse of going to the appeal and getting damages.

So I think we make a serious mistake if we were to delay these regulations at this time. I know my colleagues have been working a long time. But my feeling from the procurement officers themselves, the people that deal with this, is that they need guidance which says they are a systematic violation of the law or regulations, and that is the kind of guidance which helps them make a decision on whether to accept a contract or do not accept it.

So I would urge the Members to defeat this amendment.

6:41 PM EDT

Patsy Mink, D-HI 2nd

Mrs. MINK of Hawaii. Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to this amendment.

The long-standing policy of the Federal Government has been to make a determination of responsibility. All the rules have attempted to do is to make more specific, to establish certain standards of performance that the people who are doing these deliberations [Page: H6682]

can have some absolute objective guidance rather than subjective criteria.

I think it is very, very important to establish certain rules and regulations that these contract negotiators must follow. The taxpayers are involved in this. We have to make absolutely sure that the contractors who are being awarded these contracts are responsible, pay their taxes, follow the law, abide by the environmental requirements, OSHA requirements, and all of those other standards.

My State is full of Federal contracts, thanks to the gentleman from Pennsylvania and his generosity in coming and providing these contracts to our military bases. But it is very important that those contractors who come in abide by standards, otherwise the people of my State will be left paying the penalties.

6:41 PM EDT

Patsy Mink, D-HI 2nd

Mrs. MINK of Hawaii. Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to this amendment.

The long-standing policy of the Federal Government has been to make a determination of responsibility. All the rules have attempted to do is to make more specific, to establish certain standards of performance that the people who are doing these deliberations [Page: H6682]

can have some absolute objective guidance rather than subjective criteria.

I think it is very, very important to establish certain rules and regulations that these contract negotiators must follow. The taxpayers are involved in this. We have to make absolutely sure that the contractors who are being awarded these contracts are responsible, pay their taxes, follow the law, abide by the environmental requirements, OSHA requirements, and all of those other standards.

My State is full of Federal contracts, thanks to the gentleman from Pennsylvania and his generosity in coming and providing these contracts to our military bases. But it is very important that those contractors who come in abide by standards, otherwise the people of my State will be left paying the penalties.

6:42 PM EDT

Robert Andrews, D-NJ 1st

Mr. ANDREWS. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman from Maryland for yielding me this time.

Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to the amendment because it does the wrong thing in the wrong way. Federal contract officers ought to have clear guidance when a contract competitor has engaged in a pattern and practice of disregard or violation of the law. People who engage in a pattern and practice of violation are bad risks, and they subject the taxpayers to the risk of poor performance or overpayment.

Moreover, this is done, I believe, in the wrong way. The administration has carefully looked at the policy issues involved in this, and I do not believe that a brief debate in the context of an appropriations bill is also a place to overturn that judgment.

With all due respect, the Committee on Education and the Workforce could and should take a look at this. I believe we will reach the same conclusion the administration did. It is bad business to do business with those who do that business badly.

Mr. Chairman, I urge defeat of the amendment.

The CHAIRMAN pro tempore. The gentleman from Virginia (Mr. DAVIS) has 1 minute remaining. The gentleman from Maryland (Mr. HOYER) has 3 minutes remaining and the right to close.

6:42 PM EDT

Robert Andrews, D-NJ 1st

Mr. ANDREWS. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman from Maryland for yielding me this time.

Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to the amendment because it does the wrong thing in the wrong way. Federal contract officers ought to have clear guidance when a contract competitor has engaged in a pattern and practice of disregard or violation of the law. People who engage in a pattern and practice of violation are bad risks, and they subject the taxpayers to the risk of poor performance or overpayment.

Moreover, this is done, I believe, in the wrong way. The administration has carefully looked at the policy issues involved in this, and I do not believe that a brief debate in the context of an appropriations bill is also a place to overturn that judgment.

With all due respect, the Committee on Education and the Workforce could and should take a look at this. I believe we will reach the same conclusion the administration did. It is bad business to do business with those who do that business badly.

Mr. Chairman, I urge defeat of the amendment.

The CHAIRMAN pro tempore. The gentleman from Virginia (Mr. DAVIS) has 1 minute remaining. The gentleman from Maryland (Mr. HOYER) has 3 minutes remaining and the right to close.

6:42 PM EDT

Robert Andrews, D-NJ 1st

Mr. ANDREWS. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman from Maryland for yielding me this time.

Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to the amendment because it does the wrong thing in the wrong way. Federal contract officers ought to have clear guidance when a contract competitor has engaged in a pattern and practice of disregard or violation of the law. People who engage in a pattern and practice of violation are bad risks, and they subject the taxpayers to the risk of poor performance or overpayment.

Moreover, this is done, I believe, in the wrong way. The administration has carefully looked at the policy issues involved in this, and I do not believe that a brief debate in the context of an appropriations bill is also a place to overturn that judgment.

With all due respect, the Committee on Education and the Workforce could and should take a look at this. I believe we will reach the same conclusion the administration did. It is bad business to do business with those who do that business badly.

Mr. Chairman, I urge defeat of the amendment.

The CHAIRMAN pro tempore. The gentleman from Virginia (Mr. DAVIS) has 1 minute remaining. The gentleman from Maryland (Mr. HOYER) has 3 minutes remaining and the right to close.

6:43 PM EDT

Dennis Kucinich, D-OH 10th

Mr. KUCINICH. Mr. Chairman, is it too much to expect that Congress wants our laws obeyed? Is it too much for citizens to expect that their taxes are protected from law breakers? Our society expects individuals to follow the law. When they do not, there are consequences.

When a company applies for a Federal contract to perform work paid for by the taxpayers, existing laws say it should be a law-abiding company. If it is not, regulations recently proposed would deny the law-breaking company eligibility to bid for a contract.

But this amendment prevents the Government from expecting that Federal contractors obey the law. This amendment would reward law breakers with taxpayer funds. This amendment would reward companies that break our environmental, labor, and consumer safety laws with lavish Federal contracts.

I regretfully must ask for a no vote on the Davis amendment.

[Time: 18:45]

6:44 PM EDT

Dennis Kucinich, D-OH 10th

Mr. KUCINICH. Mr. Chairman, is it too much to expect that Congress wants our laws obeyed? Is it too much for citizens to expect that their taxes are protected from law breakers? Our society expects individuals to follow the law. When they do not, there are consequences.

When a company applies for a Federal contract to perform work paid for by the taxpayers, existing laws say it should be a law-abiding company. If it is not, regulations recently proposed would deny the law-breaking company eligibility to bid for a contract.

But this amendment prevents the Government from expecting that Federal contractors obey the law. This amendment would reward law breakers with taxpayer funds. This amendment would reward companies that break our environmental, labor, and consumer safety laws with lavish Federal contracts.

I regretfully must ask for a no vote on the Davis amendment.

[Time: 18:45]

6:44 PM EDT

Dennis Kucinich, D-OH 10th

Mr. KUCINICH. Mr. Chairman, is it too much to expect that Congress wants our laws obeyed? Is it too much for citizens to expect that their taxes are protected from law breakers? Our society expects individuals to follow the law. When they do not, there are consequences.

When a company applies for a Federal contract to perform work paid for by the taxpayers, existing laws say it should be a law-abiding company. If it is not, regulations recently proposed would deny the law-breaking company eligibility to bid for a contract.

But this amendment prevents the Government from expecting that Federal contractors obey the law. This amendment would reward law breakers with taxpayer funds. This amendment would reward companies that break our environmental, labor, and consumer safety laws with lavish Federal contracts.

I regretfully must ask for a no vote on the Davis amendment.

[Time: 18:45]

6:45 PM EDT

Charles B. Rangel, D-NY 15th

Mr. RANGEL. Mr. Chairman, I offer an amendment.

The CHAIRMAN pro tempore. The Clerk will designate the amendment.

The text of the amendment is as follows:

Amendment offered by Mr. RANGEL:

At the end of the bill, insert after the last section (page 112, after line 13) the following new section:

SEC. 644. None of the funds made available in this Act may be used by the Department of the Treasury to enforce the economic embargo of Cuba, as defined in section 4(7) of the Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity (LIBERTAD) Act of 1996 (Public Law 104-114), except those provisions that relate to the denial of foreign tax credits, or to the implementation of the harmonized tariff schedule of the United States.

The CHAIRMAN pro tempore. Pursuant to the order of the House of today, the gentleman from New York (Mr. RANGEL) and a Member opposed each will control 10 minutes.

The Chair recognizes the gentleman from New York (Mr. RANGEL).

6:45 PM EDT

Charles B. Rangel, D-NY 15th

Mr. RANGEL. Mr. Chairman, I offer an amendment.

The CHAIRMAN pro tempore. The Clerk will designate the amendment.

The text of the amendment is as follows:

Amendment offered by Mr. RANGEL:

At the end of the bill, insert after the last section (page 112, after line 13) the following new section:

SEC. 644. None of the funds made available in this Act may be used by the Department of the Treasury to enforce the economic embargo of Cuba, as defined in section 4(7) of the Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity (LIBERTAD) Act of 1996 (Public Law 104-114), except those provisions that relate to the denial of foreign tax credits, or to the implementation of the harmonized tariff schedule of the United States.

The CHAIRMAN pro tempore. Pursuant to the order of the House of today, the gentleman from New York (Mr. RANGEL) and a Member opposed each will control 10 minutes.

The Chair recognizes the gentleman from New York (Mr. RANGEL).

6:45 PM EDT

Charles B. Rangel, D-NY 15th

Mr. RANGEL. Mr. Chairman, I offer an amendment.

The CHAIRMAN pro tempore. The Clerk will designate the amendment.

The text of the amendment is as follows:

Amendment offered by Mr. RANGEL:

At the end of the bill, insert after the last section (page 112, after line 13) the following new section:

SEC. 644. None of the funds made available in this Act may be used by the Department of the Treasury to enforce the economic embargo of Cuba, as defined in section 4(7) of the Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity (LIBERTAD) Act of 1996 (Public Law 104-114), except those provisions that relate to the denial of foreign tax credits, or to the implementation of the harmonized tariff schedule of the United States.

The CHAIRMAN pro tempore. Pursuant to the order of the House of today, the gentleman from New York (Mr. RANGEL) and a Member opposed each will control 10 minutes.

The Chair recognizes the gentleman from New York (Mr. RANGEL).

6:45 PM EDT

Charles B. Rangel, D-NY 15th

Mr. RANGEL. Mr. Chairman, I offer an amendment.

The CHAIRMAN pro tempore. The Clerk will designate the amendment.

The text of the amendment is as follows:

Amendment offered by Mr. RANGEL:

At the end of the bill, insert after the last section (page 112, after line 13) the following new section:

SEC. 644. None of the funds made available in this Act may be used by the Department of the Treasury to enforce the economic embargo of Cuba, as defined in section 4(7) of the Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity (LIBERTAD) Act of 1996 (Public Law 104-114), except those provisions that relate to the denial of foreign tax credits, or to the implementation of the harmonized tariff schedule of the United States.

The CHAIRMAN pro tempore. Pursuant to the order of the House of today, the gentleman from New York (Mr. RANGEL) and a Member opposed each will control 10 minutes.

The Chair recognizes the gentleman from New York (Mr. RANGEL).

6:45 PM EDT

Frank R. Wolf, R-VA 10th

Mr. WOLF. Mr. Chairman, the administration's new rules would create a standard which is so broad and so vague that it would cripple employers in the high-technology industry, and both sides want to do something here. This is an opportunity for small businesses and college and university research, but the administrations' new rules would add cost and, I think, would negatively impact the taxpayers.

So I ask colleagues on both sides to support the Davis-Moran amendment, which has bipartisan support, and which merely postpones the implementation of these regulations until GAO has the time to adequately assess them.

6:45 PM EDT

Frank R. Wolf, R-VA 10th

Mr. WOLF. Mr. Chairman, the administration's new rules would create a standard which is so broad and so vague that it would cripple employers in the high-technology industry, and both sides want to do something here. This is an opportunity for small businesses and college and university research, but the administrations' new rules would add cost and, I think, would negatively impact the taxpayers.

So I ask colleagues on both sides to support the Davis-Moran amendment, which has bipartisan support, and which merely postpones the implementation of these regulations until GAO has the time to adequately assess them.

6:45 PM EDT

Frank R. Wolf, R-VA 10th

Mr. WOLF. Mr. Chairman, the administration's new rules would create a standard which is so broad and so vague that it would cripple employers in the high-technology industry, and both sides want to do something here. This is an opportunity for small businesses and college and university research, but the administrations' new rules would add cost and, I think, would negatively impact the taxpayers.

So I ask colleagues on both sides to support the Davis-Moran amendment, which has bipartisan support, and which merely postpones the implementation of these regulations until GAO has the time to adequately assess them.

6:46 PM EDT

Charles B. Rangel, D-NY 15th

Mr. RANGEL. Mr. Chairman, I offer an amendment.

The CHAIRMAN pro tempore. The Clerk will designate the amendment.

The text of the amendment is as follows:

Amendment offered by Mr. RANGEL:

At the end of the bill, insert after the last section (page 112, after line 13) the following new section:

SEC. 644. None of the funds made available in this Act may be used by the Department of the Treasury to enforce the economic embargo of Cuba, as defined in section 4(7) of the Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity (LIBERTAD) Act of 1996 (Public Law 104-114), except those provisions that relate to the denial of foreign tax credits, or to the implementation of the harmonized tariff schedule of the United States.

The CHAIRMAN pro tempore. Pursuant to the order of the House of today, the gentleman from New York (Mr. RANGEL) and a Member opposed each will control 10 minutes.

The Chair recognizes the gentleman from New York (Mr. RANGEL).

6:46 PM EDT

Charles B. Rangel, D-NY 15th

Mr. RANGEL. Mr. Chairman, I offer an amendment.

The CHAIRMAN pro tempore. The Clerk will designate the amendment.

The text of the amendment is as follows:

Amendment offered by Mr. RANGEL:

At the end of the bill, insert after the last section (page 112, after line 13) the following new section:

SEC. 644. None of the funds made available in this Act may be used by the Department of the Treasury to enforce the economic embargo of Cuba, as defined in section 4(7) of the Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity (LIBERTAD) Act of 1996 (Public Law 104-114), except those provisions that relate to the denial of foreign tax credits, or to the implementation of the harmonized tariff schedule of the United States.

The CHAIRMAN pro tempore. Pursuant to the order of the House of today, the gentleman from New York (Mr. RANGEL) and a Member opposed each will control 10 minutes.

The Chair recognizes the gentleman from New York (Mr. RANGEL).

6:46 PM EDT

Charles B. Rangel, D-NY 15th

Mr. RANGEL. Mr. Chairman, I offer an amendment.

The CHAIRMAN pro tempore. The Clerk will designate the amendment.

The text of the amendment is as follows:

Amendment offered by Mr. RANGEL:

At the end of the bill, insert after the last section (page 112, after line 13) the following new section:

SEC. 644. None of the funds made available in this Act may be used by the Department of the Treasury to enforce the economic embargo of Cuba, as defined in section 4(7) of the Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity (LIBERTAD) Act of 1996 (Public Law 104-114), except those provisions that relate to the denial of foreign tax credits, or to the implementation of the harmonized tariff schedule of the United States.

The CHAIRMAN pro tempore. Pursuant to the order of the House of today, the gentleman from New York (Mr. RANGEL) and a Member opposed each will control 10 minutes.

The Chair recognizes the gentleman from New York (Mr. RANGEL).

6:46 PM EDT

Bill Goodling, R-PA 19th

Mr. GOODLING. Mr. Chairman, last October I wrote to the Office of Federal Procurement Policy requesting any data or information upon which a procurement policy decision was made. I asked specifically for any information with specific contractors that had failed to comply with the laws. I asked for any specific complaints received from contracting officers involving the inadequacy of the current Federal acquisition laws. I asked for examples of specific government contractors that had been unable

to fulfill their contracts.

Guess what the answer was? ``We do not keep any data that would give us an opportunity to answer your question.'' Well, then, where do they get any data to write these regulations?

6:46 PM EDT

Bill Goodling, R-PA 19th

Mr. GOODLING. Mr. Chairman, last October I wrote to the Office of Federal Procurement Policy requesting any data or information upon which a procurement policy decision was made. I asked specifically for any information with specific contractors that had failed to comply with the laws. I asked for any specific complaints received from contracting officers involving the inadequacy of the current Federal acquisition laws. I asked for examples of specific government contractors that had been unable

to fulfill their contracts.

Guess what the answer was? ``We do not keep any data that would give us an opportunity to answer your question.'' Well, then, where do they get any data to write these regulations?

6:47 PM EDT

Steny Hoyer, D-MD 5th

Mr. HOYER. Mr. Chairman, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Let us cut to the chase here as to what this amendment is about and why these regulations came about. My friend and colleague, the gentleman from California (Mr. OSE) mentioned the criteria here. ``Responsible bidder: Necessary technical and financial capability, performance record, and business integrity and ethics.''

There seems to be a fear that somebody will make a subjective judgment. Well, the fact is that is a very broad criteria that is difficult to define. So what has been proposed? The administration is proposing that we have some definition of what ethics and integrity is. They simply say that that test of responsibility is the contractor's record of complying with the law. Certainly, we want our contractors to do that, including environmental laws, consumer laws, labor and employment laws, and other

Federal laws, so that it will not be simply a subjective judgment as to what ethics and integrity are, but it will have some specific criteria to direct officials in overseeing whether or not somebody is a responsible contractor.

Is that not a reasonable step to take to give direction to Federal decision makers, as opposed, ironically, because the sponsors of the amendment think the opposite is true, of giving this very broad latitude currently existing to make a determination of whether somebody is ethical or has integrity? That certainly is a very broad base. Somebody may have complied with all of the laws but be deemed by somebody as not ethical in its behavior.

My suggestion, my colleagues, is to reject this amendment because, in fact, I think it does the opposite of what its proponents want to do. Its proponents want to give some definition and preclude arbitrary and capricious action. In my opinion, the regulations do exactly that. We ought to sustain them and reject the amendment.

6:49 PM EDT

Charles B. Rangel, D-NY 15th

Mr. RANGEL. Mr. Chairman, I offer an amendment.

The CHAIRMAN pro tempore. The Clerk will designate the amendment.

The text of the amendment is as follows:

Amendment offered by Mr. RANGEL:

At the end of the bill, insert after the last section (page 112, after line 13) the following new section:

SEC. 644. None of the funds made available in this Act may be used by the Department of the Treasury to enforce the economic embargo of Cuba, as defined in section 4(7) of the Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity (LIBERTAD) Act of 1996 (Public Law 104-114), except those provisions that relate to the denial of foreign tax credits, or to the implementation of the harmonized tariff schedule of the United States.

The CHAIRMAN pro tempore. Pursuant to the order of the House of today, the gentleman from New York (Mr. RANGEL) and a Member opposed each will control 10 minutes.

The Chair recognizes the gentleman from New York (Mr. RANGEL).

6:49 PM EDT

Charles B. Rangel, D-NY 15th

Mr. RANGEL. Mr. Chairman, I offer an amendment.

The CHAIRMAN pro tempore. The Clerk will designate the amendment.

The text of the amendment is as follows:

Amendment offered by Mr. RANGEL:

At the end of the bill, insert after the last section (page 112, after line 13) the following new section:

SEC. 644. None of the funds made available in this Act may be used by the Department of the Treasury to enforce the economic embargo of Cuba, as defined in section 4(7) of the Cuban Liberty and Democratic Solidarity (LIBERTAD) Act of 1996 (Public Law 104-114), except those provisions that relate to the denial of foreign tax credits, or to the implementation of the harmonized tariff schedule of the United States.

The CHAIRMAN pro tempore. Pursuant to the order of the House of today, the gentleman from New York (Mr. RANGEL) and a Member opposed each will control 10 minutes.

The Chair recognizes the gentleman from New York (Mr. RANGEL).