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Amendment Blocking Harmful and Redundant Executive Order Passes Armed Services Committee

Rep. John Kline (R-MN), chairman of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, today praised the House Committee on Armed Services for adopting an amendment that will block an executive order undermining the nation’s military readiness:

Those who deny workers basic protections shouldn’t be rewarded with government contracts, and that is precisely why suspension and debarment rules already exist to hold bad actors accountable. The best way to ensure fair pay and safe workplaces is to enforce current rules, not add another layer of bureaucracy onto a procurement process already plagued by delays and inefficiencies. The president’s executive order is flawed, redundant, and most importantly, it will undermine the equipment and resources our Armed Forces need to keep America safe. I commend my colleagues on the Armed Services Committee for adopting this amendment and ensuring this harmful executive overreach doesn’t threaten the vital support our men and women in uniform need.

In 2014, President Obama signed Executive Order 13673, adding a new layer of bureaucracy onto an already inefficient federal procurement system. The executive order requires employers bidding on federal contracts to disclose violations and alleged violations of 14 different federal labor laws and similar state labor laws. Employers would also have to provide this information on every supplier or subcontractor they work with. The president’s executive order is fatally flawed:

  • The best way to ensure fair pay and safe workplaces is to enforce existing suspension and debarment rules. In 2014, federal agencies issued more than 1,000 suspensions and nearly 2,000 debarments to employers bidding on federal contracts—including 400 suspensions and 735 debarment actions by the Department of Defense.
  • The president’s executive order violates due process and holds federal agencies to a different, lesser standard. The executive order empowers agencies to deny contracts for “alleged” violations of various federal labor laws, setting startling precedent that employers are guilty until proven innocent.
  • The president’s executive order threatens the vital resources the Armed Forces need to defend the homeland and keep Americans safe. According to the Professional Services Council, the executive order will “slow the Department of Defense acquisition process and harm the Department’s ability to meet its mission.”

The amendment offered by Rep. Kline, and adopted by the House Committee on Armed Services, will ensure the president’s executive order does not apply to the activities of the Department of Defense and the National Nuclear Security Administration.

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