Amendment would bar MCI from federal contracts

Efforts to bar bankrupt telecommunications giant MCI from government contracts could come to a head Friday, when a House subcommittee takes up the $27.5 billion fiscal 2004 Transportation-Treasury funding measure.

Rep. John Sweeney, R-N.Y., intends to offer an amendment to the bill that would effectively prevent implementation of pending contracts between federal agencies and the firm, formerly known as WorldCom, for a year.

An administration official said the White House opposes the amendment, since it could cost $180 million to rebid the contracts and cause disruptions of important telecommunications functions at agencies such as the CIA.

The official and other sources said MCI competitors such as Verizon and AT&T, as well as the Communications Workers of America, were lobbying for the amendment.

A spokesman for Sweeney said he would offer the amendment because of MCI's "corporate wrongdoing." Last year it was revealed that the firm had failed to disclose $4 billion in expenses on accounting reports. An Appropriations aide said Sweeney probably would not have the votes to win the rider's passage.

One lobbyist who opposed the possible amendment said, "Basically, people who are disgruntled they didn't get the contracts in the first place" were pushing the amendment, which could hinder the company's attempt to emerge from bankruptcy.

Sources said no similar amendment has been floated on the Senate side. There, the administration official said, Transportation-Treasury Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Richard Shelby, R-Ala., a former Intelligence Committee chairman, understands the issue from a "national security perspective."

However, scrutiny of MCI contracts has stepped up on the Senate side in recent weeks. Governmental Affairs Committee Chairwoman Susan Collins, R-Maine, has launched an investigation, and Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., called on federal agencies to stop doing business with the company.

Conservative activists, such as Americans for Tax Reform, oppose such efforts. They call MCI a "qualified company" and argue that the amendment "would undermine the long-term health of the competitive bidding process."

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

    View
  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

    View
  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

    View
  • GBC Issue Brief: The Future of 9-1-1

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

    View
  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

    View
  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

    View
  • eBook: State & Local Cybersecurity

    CenturyLink is committed to helping state and local governments meet their cybersecurity challenges. Towards that end, CenturyLink commissioned a study from the Government Business Council that looked at the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of state and local leaders around the cybersecurity issue. The results were surprising in a number of ways. Learn more about their findings and the ways in which state and local governments can combat cybersecurity threats with this eBook.

    View

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.