Kerry Pressures Coast Guard to Bid New Deepwater Contract

Monday, March 26, 2007
Kerry legislation calls for Coast Guard to Drop Problematic Lockheed/Grumman Deal, Save Taxpayers from More Waste Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.) introduced legislation that will prevent the Coast Guard from re-signing the current Deepwater program contract with Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman. Kerry's bill requires the Coast Guard re-open the contract and hold a competitive bidding process for the remaining aspects of the program. Last month, Kerry called for the Coast Guard to drop the current contract when it comes up in June.

Kerry acknowledged the Coast Guard decision yesterday to cancel a part of the Lockheed/Grumman contact and take overoperations for the "fast-response cutter," a high-speed security vessel. "Taking over this aspect of the program is a good first step," Kerry said. "Now, Congress needs to get serious about oversight to make sure taxpayer dollars are protected in the Deepwater program going forward." Kerry added. Kerry's legislation, The Deepwater Accountability Act, will increase oversight of the program, while providing the Coast Guard with the flexibility it needs to get the Deepwater program fully implemented. Kerry's Deepwater Accountability Act:

* Requires the Coast Guard to solicit new contracts for the remaining assets of the Deepwater Program under the open competition requirements of the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR).

* Requires the Coast Guard to oversee all management decisions under the new contracts, so as to have full say over how taxpayer dollars are spent.

* Allows the Coast Guard to continue to work with Lockheed/Grumman on any incomplete asset if the Secretary of Homeland Security determines that bidding it out would compromise immediate national security needs or cost more money. If this occurs, the Coast Guard must submit a report to Congress on the status of the project every 180 days.

* Requires the Department of Homeland Security to submit a report to Congress within 30 days of enactment, detailing which assets the Coast Guard needs to finish with Lockheed/Grumman and which assets can be competitively bid.

* Requires the DHS Inspector General to issue a report to Congress within 180 days describing any decisions that resulted in cost overruns, whether any decisions violated the terms of the contract, and which party is responsible for covering any cost overruns.

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