TO THE MEMBERS OF THE UNITED STATES SENATE:
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce commends the Senate Armed Services Committee for developing a strong, bipartisan bill that accomplishes a range of budget and policy objectives that would enhance the ability of the nation’s defense industrial base to support U.S. national security interests while remaining competitive at home and abroad.
The Chamber urges you to consider the following recommendations as you take up H.R. 2810, the “National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018.”
Specifically, the Chamber supports adoption of the Flake-Johnson amendment 463, the “Anti-Border Corruption Reauthorization Act of 2017.” The provision would provide much-needed resources for U.S. Customs and Border Protection to improve staffing and security at U.S. ports of entry and, accordingly, facilitate American trade and travel.
The Chamber strongly opposes amendment 732, expected to be offered by Sen. Nelson, to extend the existing moratorium on offshore drilling in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico. As offshore energy production remains a cornerstone of U.S. energy production, preemptively extending the moratorium risks degrading energy security. Moreover, the current moratorium does not expire for nearly five years and a further extension could stifle ongoing collaboration between the Departments of Defense and Interior.
Additionally, the Chamber strongly opposes amendments 735 and 768 filed by Sen. Donnelly which would penalize defense contractors for shifting workload and employees among facilities and locations. As the Department of Defense continues to seek increased competition in its procurement process while reducing overall acquisition costs, these proposed amendments would undermine both objectives by reducing the number of bidders on contracts and simultaneously increasing overhead costs for prime contractors and their supply chains.
The Chamber also supports the Inhofe amendment 906 to strike section 830 of the underlying committee-reported bill which would revive the “blacklisting” process for contractors which was vitiated under the Congressional Review Act earlier this year. Without adoption of the Inhofe amendment, section 830 would create unnecessary new bureaucratic management systems and would undermine the existing suspension and debarment process.
The Chamber appreciates your consideration of these recommendations during debate on H.R. 2810, the “National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018.”
Neil L. Bradley