Letter on Conference on S. 2943 and H.R. 4909, the "National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017" | U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Letter on Conference on S. 2943 and H.R. 4909, the "National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017"

Thursday, July 7, 2016 - 12:00pm

The Honorable John McCain
Chairman
Committee on Armed Services
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Jack Reed
 Ranking Member
Committee on Armed Services 
United States Senate 
Washington, DC 20510 

The Honorable Mac Thornberry
Chairman
Committee on Armed Services
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Adam Smith
 Ranking Member
Committee on Armed Services 
U.S. House of Representatives 
Washington, DC 20515 

Dear Chairman McCain, Ranking Member Reed, Chairman Thornberry, and Ranking Member
Smith:

As the Senate and House of Representatives begin conference deliberations on S. 2943
and H.R. 4909, the “National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017,” the U.S.
Chamber of Commerce, the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more
than three million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers
and industry associations, and dedicated to promoting, protecting, and defending America’s free
enterprise system, urges you to adopt provisions that will enhance the ability of the defense
industrial base to support U.S. national security interests while remaining competitive at home
and abroad.

Specifically, the Chamber strongly endorses section 829H of S. 2943 and section 1095 of
H.R. 4909, which would exempt military contractors who have properly complied with all
applicable labor laws, rules, and regulations from the impact of the “Fair Pay and Safe
Workplaces” Executive Order. The underlying objectives of these provisions are essential to
preserve the due process rights of contractors under the existing suspension and debarment
system, and to ensure that DOD and its contractor workforce would not be forced to create
duplicative and burdensome new bureaucratic compliance regimes. Without adoption of these
provisions by the conference, the Executive Order would significantly increase costs to DOD’s
contract actions and, simultaneously, decrease overall competition in its procurement process.

Additionally, the Chamber opposes section 315 of H.R. 4909, which would undermine
long-term, cost-saving military installation energy efficiency initiatives, including federal
efficiency goals, federal performance contracting, and the purchasing of Energy Star products.
For example, if enacted, this provision would jeopardize Utility Energy Service Contracts

(UESC) and Energy Savings Performance Contracts (ESPC) that enable DOD to procure energy
services and projects without relying solely on appropriated funds. Since their inception in 1992,
UESCs and ESPCs have achieved almost $16 billion in energy savings across the federal
government. For all of these reasons, the Chamber strongly opposes inclusion of section 315 in
the conference report.

The Chamber commends the extraordinary dedication of both Senate and House Armed
Services Committees to ensure the U.S. military remains second to none, and appreciates your
consideration of the aforementioned concerns in your ongoing conference deliberations.

Sincerely,

R. Bruce Josten

cc: Members of the Committees on Armed Services