Sending Office: Committee on Homeland Security – Minority Staff
Cosponsor H.R. 4995, the “Due Diligence for FEMA Disaster Contractors Act of 2018”
Original Cosponsors: Representatives Sheila Jackson Lee (TX), James Langevin (RI), Cedric Richmond (LA), William Keating (MA), Donald Payne Jr. (NJ), Filemon Vela (TX), Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ), Kathleen Rice (NY), Luis Correa (CA), Val Demings (FL),
Nanette Barragan (CA)
February 12, 2018
Last week, I introduced H.R. 4995, the “Due Diligence for FEMA Disaster Contractors Act of 2018” to strengthen Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) procurement process to ensure responsible contractors are selected to perform major disasters contracts.
On September 20, Hurricane Maria, a powerful Category Four hurricane with 150 mph winds, made landfall on Puerto Rico, bisecting the entire island and leaving behind truly catastrophic damage that demand timely and effective Federal action. Over the past
six months, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has repeatedly awarded contracts to contractors that were unable to meet the critical disaster mission objectives. There is a human cost associated with FEMA’s wrongful selection of these contractors;
time and again, disaster survivors have been left in the lurch, still needing basic provisions.
For instance, in response to Hurricane Maria, FEMA awarded more than $30 million in contracts for emergency tarps and plastic sheeting to Bronze Star LLC, a firm had never won a prior Federal contract; the firm never delivered those urgently needed supplies.
Early this week, we learned the FEMA entered into a $156 million-dollar contract with a Tribute Contracting LLC, for delivery of 30 million self-heating meals; the company, which had lost five prior government contracts for performance issues, only delivered
To foster greater due diligence in disaster contracting, we introduced H.R. 4995 which requires FEMA to conduct a past performance and resources review of vendors for contracts valued at $1 million or more. In June 2016, FEMA issued a field manual for its
procurement disaster assistance team to, among other things, evaluate contractor qualifications including the adequacy of past performance as well as financial and technical resources. Yet, in the response to Hurricane Maria, there is evidence that FEMA failed
to do such basic due diligence.
For more information or to cosponsor H.R. 4995, please contact Nzinga Hutchinson with the Committee on Homeland Security minority staff at Nzinga.Hutchinson@mail.house.gov, or 6-2616.
Bennie G. Thompson
Member of Congress
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