Federal agencies have closely guarded their authority to suspend and debar contractors that they determine are not “presently responsible.” Beyond the procedural safeguards set forth in FAR Subpart 9.4, the only practical limit on agency discretion in making suspension and debarment determinations can be found in the Interagency Committee on Debarment and Suspension, which provides a method for determining which agency should take the lead in a particular suspension or debarment matter.
This system may be headed for a fundamental change. Representative Darrell Issa, Chair of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, has circulated draft legislation entitled the “Stop Unworthy Spending Act”—the “SUSPEND Act [pdf].” As written, the SUSPEND Act would terminate the authority of all civilian agencies to make their own suspension and debarment determinations. Instead, this authority would be consolidated into a single entity—the Board of Civilian Suspension and Debarment—which would reside in the General Services Administration.
Continue Reading Tightening the belt on agency discretion in suspension and debarment