Comments on the Proposed Regulations to Establish a Contractor Responsibility Database

ATTN: Hada Flowers
General Services Administration
Regulatory Secretariat (VPR)
1800 F Street, NW Room 4041
Washington, DC 20405

Regarding: FAR Case 2008-027

Dear Ms. Flowers:

The Center for American Progress Action Fund would like to submit comments on the proposed regulations (FAR Case 2008-027) to require the General Services Administration to establish and maintain a contractor responsibility database.

The new Federal Awardee Performance and Integrity Information System is a step in the right direction. Contracting officers have for too long lacked access to important responsibility data, and the federal government thus continues to award new contracts to companies with a track record of legal violations. The new contractor responsibility database can help ensure that the federal government awards contracts to responsible companies.

Yet the draft regulations fall short in key areas that impede a rigorous responsibility review and potentially allow significant and/or repeat violators of workplace and other laws to receive federal contracts. The draft regulations interpret the Duncan Hunter National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2009 in an overly narrow manner and miss important opportunities to significantly improve the database and the responsibility determination process. The regulations therefore seem disconnected from the core purpose of the legislation, which is to ensure that the government only does business with responsible companies by providing essential information about the legal compliance record of federal contractors for use in responsibility determinations
and past performance evaluations.

The administration can correct these major shortcomings with the following recommendations:

  • The database should do a much better job tracking a company’s complete record of legal compliance.
  • Contracting officers should receive guidance on how to use the database to assess a company’s responsibility.
  • The database should be available to the public.
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