Opposition To Contractor Litmus Test Grows
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As the House continues to debate amendments to the Homeland Security Appropriations Act, the U.S. Chamber and a coalition of 72 businesses and associations sent letters to members opposing any amendment that would presumably force federal agencies to require businesses and individuals to disclose their political spending as a condition of participating in the federal procurement process.
Both letters also noted strong support for an amendment that may be offered by Rep. Cole in response to a draft Executive Order under consideration by the administration. The letters state:
The Cole Amendment would help ensure that political spending—or the lack thereof—continues to play no role in federal contracting decisions. The amendment reaffirms the principle, currently embodied in federal procurement laws, that the Executive Branch has an obligation to procure goods and services based on the best value for the American taxpayer, and not on political considerations. It also reaffirms the principle that the Administration cannot enact through executive fiat legislation that Congress has considered and explicitly rejected.
The Administration’s ill-considered proposal to turn the federal procurement system into a political disclosure machine is increasingly being exposed as a thinly-veiled attempt by the White House to compile an enemies list and hopefully silence its critics. The Administration’s proposal is apparently too heavy-handed even for many members of its own political party, judging from the fact that 26 House Democrats joined Republicans last week in passing an amendment to the defense authorization bill to block the draft executive order. This, of course, comes on the heels of strong criticism by other Democratic leaders.