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:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download
  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care

    Download

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