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Wednesday, September 28, 2022

McCaskill Presses FEMA on Potential Overuse of Noncompetitive Contracts

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), the top-ranking Democrat on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, today demanded answers from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on its use of noncompetitive contracts in the wake of the destructive 2017 hurricane season. This action follows a Senate hearing in April where McCaskill questioned FEMA Administrator Brock Long about noncompetitive contracts.

“FEMA has to do a better job answering straightforward questions about its contracting process to ensure Missourians’ hard-earned dollars are being used efficiently to help survivors of natural disasters,” said McCaskill.

Though agencies like FEMA can award noncompetitive contracts when there is an “urgent need,” reform measures put in place after Hurricane Katrina limit the length of these contracts to 150 days. A 2015 audit by the Government Accountability Office found that more than half of FEMA’s noncompetitive disaster support contracts that were reviewed exceeded that time limit without the necessary justification or approval.

Following Long’s testimony before the HSGAC earlier this year, McCaskill pressed for details about FEMA’s noncompetitive contracts. Her office said Long could not report which of FEMA’s 355 noncompetitive contracts exceeded that 150-day limit. As of Wednesday, FEMA has obligated more than $4 billion on contracts in response to the 2017 hurricane season, and noncompetitive contracts made up around $600 million of that.

In a letter to Long, McCaskill wrote, “Your response indicates that FEMA lacks the capability to track basic information about its noncompetitive contracts… I remain concerned that FEMA is not taking sufficient steps to properly limit the use of noncompetitive contracts.”

Read McCaskill’s letter to FEMA

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The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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