Daines, McCaskill Introduce Legislation to Protect Taxpayer Dollars

U.S. SENATE —U.S. Senators Steve Daines (R-MT) and Claire McCaskill (D-MO) introduced legislation to ensure taxpayer dollars are spent efficiently and effectively at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). 

DHS spends over $7 billion on acquisition programs annually. This legislation would codify acquisition best practices, increase transparency and accountability, increase communication and understanding of needs to industry providing these technologies, and require notification to the Inspector General and Congress when certain cost, schedule, and performance objectives are not met. 

A recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) report reviewed 26 acquisition programs at DHS in fiscal year 2016 (FY16) worth $7 billion. For FY16, the average schedule delay was 6 months with cost overruns of $988 million for the year and $1.57 billion over the lifecycle.  GAO’s recommendations are to define technical requirements before setting baselines; document the rationale for key acquisition decisions; and clarify guidance on how programs are to report breaches. 

“As Montana’s Senator, it’s my job to make sure the federal government is a good steward of taxpayer dollars and hold ourselves to a high standard of fiscal responsibility,” Daines stated. “We need to strengthen accountability within the bloated federal government without sacrificing security.”

“Far too often, Department of Homeland Security programs are late or millions of dollars over budget, and they either don’t have the tools to address challenges or the officials in charge turn a blind eye,” McCaskill said. “These bills give Congress and top agency officials more tools with which to ensure accountability, improve efficiency, and control costs so that taxpayer dollars aren’t wasted.” 

Companion legislation was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by members of the Committee on Homeland Security. Representative Mike McCaul (R-TX), Chairman of the Homeland Security Committee said: 

Chairman McCaul: “I commend Senators Daines (R-MT) and McCaskill (D-MO) for introducing four important bipartisan pieces of legislation aimed at saving taxpayer dollars and improving the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) management of its major purchases. Both Senators have been longstanding champions of DHS acquisition reform, and I look forward to working with them, along with members of my Committee who recently spearheaded the House companion bills (H.R. 1249, H.R. 1252, H.R. 1282, and H.R. 1294), to get these reforms across the finish line. This legislation is critical to making sure frontline personnel get the tools they need to keep our nation safe while also preventing waste, fraud, and abuse.”

The text of the bills is available HEREHEREHERE and HERE.