Too often, information about how the federal government spends your taxpayer dollars is inaccurate, inconsistent or incomplete. To rein in spending and hold government accountable, reform is necessary.
Government agencies often avoid scrutiny of their spending because the information is not maintained in an easily readable and publically searchable database. The information is instead in silos of spending within agencies and departments. Often, even the government has difficulty tracking how your taxpayer dollars are spent.
My bill, the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act (DATA Act) will open the government and its spending information to you and the rest of the American people. By establishing government-wide standards for reporting of federal spending and making it available for citizen watchdogs to review, a more accountable government will be in the hands of the people.
This week, the House passed my bill by an overwhelming margin of 388-1. The DATA Act will now head to the Senate where it will be considered.
Each year, the federal government offers billions of dollars in small-businesses contracts to service-disabled veterans so that they can grow their company while providing the government with needed services and goods.
Unfortunately, sometimes unscrupulous individuals seek to take advantage of veterans’ initiatives.
Earlier this year, my Committee – the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee – learned of a flaw in the current system that allowed a contractor to secure a “service-disabled veteran” designation and, as a result, receive millions in government awards, despite never having served one day in the military.
While attending a military preparatory school, Braulio Castillo injured his ankle and, shortly after went on to play quarterback and linebacker at a civilian college. Twenty-seven years later, Castillo applied for service-disabled veteran status – conveniently, just months before he started his business and sought out lucrative federal contracts worth over $500 million. Despite never serving a day in the military, Castillo secured this designation for contracting purposes.
Those who have never actually served our country should not be entitled to receive the special status of service-disabled veteran in order to secure advantages in receiving contracts. This loophole must be closed so that future service-disabled veteran businesses can fairly compete for government contracts.
That’s why I have worked with fellow Congresswoman – and disabled veteran – Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) to introduce the SERV (Support Earned Recognition for Veterans) Act. This bill will prevent future abuses of the veterans-preference contract system so that those whom never served in the actual armed forces will not be eligible for this status.
To read more about the case of Braulio Castillo, please click here.
To watch Congresswoman Duckworth question Castillo during the Oversight hearing, please click here.
To become a citizen cosponsor of the SERV Act, please click here.
I want to hear from you. In addition to communicating with me by email, you can also keep in touch with me and join in the dialogue via Facebook and Twitter. These social media pages are essential in sharing daily updates with you about what I’m doing as your Representative, my work as Chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and other important issues I’m working on to create jobs, protect Americans from harmful policies like the President’s healthcare law and increase federal transparency.