DeLauro amendment would imperil other DHS contractors

An amendment to the Homeland Security appropriations act for 2005 that originally was targeted at Accenture LLP's contract for the U.S. Visit program could jeopardize other companies' DHS contracts if it is enacted into law.

The amendment, which is expected to be considered soon by the full House of Representatives, likely will be watered down to exempt the U.S. Visit pact but would bar other tax exiles from receiving future DHS pacts.

Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) yesterday held a press conference with Reps. Marion Berry (D-Ark.), Richard Neal (D-Mass.) and Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas) at which she condemned the Republican leadership of the House and the Bush administration for opposing the 'corporate runaways' amendment and lambasted DHS for awarding the contract to Accenture. The lawmakers have said DHS contracts should not go to companies that move their headquarters or devised international corporate structures to avoid federal taxes.

Berry noted that in Arkansas, Wal-Mart had volunteered to make up the loss in pay between the salaries of its employees who were called up to the National Guard and Reserve and their military pay. 'These men and women pay taxes,' he said, and condemned Accenture's policy of avoiding U.S. taxes. 'In Arkansas, you couldn't have enough money to buy our citizenship.' He added, 'Could you imagine turning border control over to a foreign company?'

DeLauro said federal contracts include provisions that allow the government to terminate the agreements for its own convenience, without affording any significant recompense beyond expenses already incurred.

As the lawmakers spoke to the press, Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) spoke on the floor to defend the amendment. The Rules Committee exposed the section of DeLauro's amendment that would scuttle the U.S. Visit pact to floor amendments that likely would eliminate it later this week.

DeLauro had added the amendment to the Homeland Security appropriations bill during its markup session in the Appropriations Committee on June 9.

DeLauro said the fight for the corporate runaway amendment would shift to the Senate, which also is considering a DHS appropriations bill.

But the Rules Committee voted to shield parts of the DeLauro amendment that would prevent Accenture and other tax exiles from getting DHS contracts in the future.

(Posted June 17 and corredcted June 18)

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