By SCOTT AMEY
The Senate Subcommittee on Military Readiness, chaired by Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO), has opened up its markup of the massive defense spending bill, a move that promotes accountability and transparency in defense spending and programs, and that is a welcome departure from the Senate Armed Services Committee's own continued modus operandi of marking up the defense budget bill behind closed doors.
Sen. McCaskill is reloading several stand-alone bills and new proposals that were included in the Chairman's mark, and passed by the Subcommittee. Barring an amendment to strip one or more of those proposals that would be passed by a majority of the full Committee, POGO expects they will be included in the final bill eventually voted on by the full Senate.
According to the Subcommittee's press release, McCaskill's version of the legislation will move to strengthen whistleblower protections provided to contractor employees, improve accountability in contingency operations in combat zones, and reduce to $400,000 the amount of executive compensation that taxpayers reimburse to contractors.
The Readiness Subcommittee mark includes a number of other provisions that should improve the management of the Defense Department (DoD) and help save taxpayer money, including limiting the amount of work DoD contractors can pass-through to subcontractors; granting government access to contractor internal audit reports; and changing DoD profit policy to ensure contractor profits are closely tied to their performance.
Unfortunately, we won’t know what shakes out from the Committee for a few days, but Senator McCaskill is carrying a bright torch for accountability and transparency that should be emulated by all of Congress.
Scott Amey is POGO's general counsel.