Senators Praise Inclusion of Provision in NDAA to Block Executive Order to Blacklist Contractors

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee; and Sen. Lamar Alexandar (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions; and Sens. David Vitter (R-La.), Tom Tills (R-N.C.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.) and Mike Enzi (R-Wy.) today praised the inclusion of a provision in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for fiscal year 2017 (FY17) that severely limits the impact of Executive Order 13673’s blacklisting components against defense contractors. This provision was included at the request of the members.

“The Obama Administration is constantly working to make the acquisition process more difficult, onerous, and costly, and I applaud the Armed Services Committee for including this provision at our request,” said Inhofe. “EO 13673 effectively blacklists any contractor from participating in defense contracts if they have had unproven allegations of labor law violations. The inclusion of this language will prevent blacklisting to any company unless they have had specific violations proven that have led to its suspension or debarment by the Department. I will be working with my colleagues to ensure this language makes it across the finish line.”   

"This provision will prevent the administration from enacting a rule that will bury contractors and subcontractors under mountains of paperwork and then prevent some from getting work for a labor violation they didn’t commit. Current law is already clear that when federal contractors violate labor laws, they will be punished," said Alexander. 

“The Obama Administration’s obsession with regulating for the sake of regulating has shown itself in the ‘Fair Pay’ Executive Order, which has the ability to turn the federal contracting system on its head.  Requiring a comprehensive cost-benefit analysis on the ‘Fair Pay’ E.O. is a huge win for federal contractors and agencies alike before they waste far too much time and money complying with an unnecessary rule,” said Vitter. “The Labor Department already has the ability to hold contractors accountable for violating labor laws, and the ‘Fair Pay’ E.O. would fail to combat violators, instead only hurting federal contractors and putting many out of business.”

“I applaud the Armed Services Committee for taking this commonsense step to streamline the defense acquisition process,” said Tillis. “This is a critical move towards repealing another overly burdensome policy of the Obama administration’s ‘unions first, troops second’ acquisition mentality.”

“The President’s executive overreach could have enormous implications for defense procurement and manufacturing,” said Wicker. “It would be wrong to blacklist potential contractors from engaging with DOD without full due process. I am pleased that the committee has seen fit to include Sen. Inhofe’s provision to block the Administration’s efforts.”

Background

The Obama administration has implemented Executive Order 13673 (EO 13673), which effectively blacklists companies from participating in government contracts if they have had allegations of labor law violations, even if they have not been substantiated or proven. If allowed to move forward, EO 13673 would slow down and increase the cost of the acquisition process, hurting defense contractors. In 2015, Inhofe offered amendment #2015 to the FY16 NDAA, which would have blocked EO 13673 from applying to a defense contractor unless it has been debarred or otherwise suspended. This amendment was not adopted then; however, at the request of the members, a provision addressing this issue was included in the base text of FY17 NDAA.