Meadows, Khanna Introduce Bipartisan Construction Consensus Procurement Improvement Act

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WASHINGTON, January 17, 2020 | Ben Williamson (202-225-6401) | comments

RELEASE:
Meadows, Khanna Introduce Bipartisan Construction Consensus Procurement Improvement Act

WASHINGTON, D.C. - This week, Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) and Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) introduced the bipartisan Construction Consensus Procurement Improvement Act – a bill to promote competition and quality in federally-funded construction projects.

The bill would prohibit federal agencies from using a reverse auction in which sellers continuously lower prices during bids for federal construction contracts. Under existing processes, the lowest bidder is in most cases awarded the construction contract in question. While this procedure generally results in a low price for the item up front, the quality of the product, delivery terms, and other important features may be lacking, and promised cost savings often to not materialize, meaning reverse auctions are not appropriate for design-build contracts that require design concepts, key personnel, and technical solutions. The current process could compromise quality or require a new bidding process down the road, eliminating initial savings. The existing process also risks boxing out small businesses who want to competitively bid on federal contracts

A similar prohibition on the use of reverse auctions has already been implemented for construction contracts issued by the US Army Corps of Engineers, after they found their use of reverse auctions did not reduce costs in practice and that they are ill-suited to the variability and unpredictability that comes with construction projects. It is time to take this change to the rest of the federal government.

Rep. Meadows released the following statement:

“I’m proud to help introduce this bill to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of federal government construction contracts. This is a simple change, at no cost to the federal government, which will protect taxpayer dollars and put federal funds to better use – something members of both parties can support. I want to thank my friend, Congressman Ro Khanna, for his willingness to work with me on this issue in a bipartisan way.”

Rep. Khanna added the following:

“I’m proud to reach across the aisle and work with Rep. Meadows as we work to end reverse auctions for construction contracts with the federal government. American taxpayers’ money shouldn’t be spent on low-quality work. This bipartisan legislation passed the Oversight Committee last Congress, and under the leadership of Senators Portman and Hirono, already passed the Senate this Congress. I look forward to working with my colleagues as we seize on this momentum to ensure our critical legislation becomes law.”

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