Sens. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) never figured hearings and discussions about federal procurement would attract a lot of viewers on C-SPAN, or for that matter, attention from their colleagues.
But the chairman and ranking member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee knew the impact acquisition issues could have in saving money and making the government more efficient.
For their approaches to federal procurement over the last 15 years, Lieberman and Collins today received the highest honor the Coalition for Government Procurement gives out, The Common Sense in Government Procurement Award.
“The senators took a balanced approach to dealing with procurement and one that always tried to get the best value for agencies and citizens,” said Roger Waldron, president of the Coalition for Government Procurement, at the awards ceremony in Washington. “Sens. Lieberman and Collins’ bipartisan efforts demonstrate that achieving the common good need not be a bloodsport in Washington.”
Collins: Procurement ‘critical’ to government operations
The Coalition for Government Procurement, an industry association, has given out this award only 10 times in its 33-year history. Past winners include former Congressman Pete Hoekstra (R-Mich.), Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.) and former Vice President Al Gore.
“I’ve been blessed to have Susan Collins as the ranking member,” Lieberman said. “We developed a relationship of trust and total transparency. If we feel the pull of our party on a specific issue, we let the other one know. And that is why this committee has been able to produce legislation.”
Collins said Lieberman was her closest friend on Capitol Hill.
“Federal procurement has long been an area of interest for me,” said Collins, who started her career on Capitol Hill as the lead staff member for Sen. Bill Cohen (R-Maine) in drafting the Competition in Contracting Act in 1984. “Procurement is so critically important to the government’s operations, and yet it’s complex and dynamic.”
Both senators mentioned the importance of ensuring the acquisition workforce has the necessary skills and training to get the best value for the government.
Waldron said CGP was honoring both senators because of their commitment and collaboration to making federal procurement better.