WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship Ranking Member Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine) and Chair Mary Landrieu (D-Louisiana) today reiterated their call for swift passage of bipartisan legislation to combat Federal contracting fraud.

“Following this week’s guilty plea by a former manager at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in what has been called ‘one of the most brazen federal contracting scandals in our nation’s history,’ it is imperative that the House of Representatives pass the critical contracting fraud prevention legislation that the Senate has already unanimously agreed to,” said Senator Snowe. “In testimony before our Committee, Small Business Administration Inspector General Peg Gustafson noted that our bill ‘will greatly assist [her] office’s efforts in deterring, detecting, and prosecuting false statements made to obtain…contracts.’ It is my hope that the House will swiftly pass our legislation to ensure that the SBA’s IG and other Federal agencies have the resources and tools necessary to investigate and combat future allegations of fraud.”

“It is unfortunate that recent news headlines underscore the necessity of our legislation, but it reinforces our need to act swiftly and pass legislation to help prevent fraud and abuse in the federal contracting system,” Senator Landrieu said. “Once again, I urge my colleagues in the House to bring up and quickly pass this necessary legislation that will give the SBA and the Inspector General the necessary tools to combat fraud.”

BACKGROUND: The Small Business Contracting Fraud Prevention Act (S. 633) would provide a comprehensive oversight framework within Small Business Administration (SBA) to execute effective certification, surveillance and monitoring, and robust enforcement of its entire contracting portfolio. The bill would also increase criminal penalties for businesses awarded contracts through fraudulent means. S. 633 passed the U.S. Senate unanimously on September 21, 2011, and is awaiting action by the House of Representatives.

Cosponsors of the bill include: Senators Scott P. Brown (R-Massachusetts), Michael B. Enzi (R-Wyoming), Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon), Kay Hagan (D- North Carolina), Claire McCaskill (D-Missouri), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Kelly Ayotte (R-New Hampshire), Pat Toomey (R-Pennsylvania), Susan M. Collins (R-Maine), Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia), Maria Cantwell (D-Washington), and John Hoeven (R-North Dakota).