Sen. Carper Votes For New Census Director & Two Carper Bills Pass The Homeland Security Committee

WASHINGTON — During this morning’s business meeting of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) voted in support of the nomination of Census Director nominee Robert Groves, and also won committee approval for two of his own bills, the Federal Firefighter Fairness Act and the Information Technology Investment Oversight Enhancement and Waste Prevention Act of 2009.

As Chairman of the Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management that oversees the upcoming 2010 Census, Sen. Carper chaired Dr. Groves’ confirmation hearing last week, and the senator has been heavily involved in making sure that the upcoming census is as accurate and cost-effective as possible. 

Also, today the committee approved Sen. Carper’s the Federal Firefighters Fairness Act (S. 599). 

The senator introduced this bill to help firefighters, who due to the nature of their work, are susceptible to a range of diseases and medical conditions at a much higher rate than other professions, including heart disease, lung disease, and even certain cancers and infectious diseases. Most states have a law that assumes that, in most cases, firefighters who get these diseases got sick on the job. These laws make it easier for firefighters and their families to obtain disability and death benefits. 

Sen. Carper’s Federal Firefighters Fairness Act would apply this benefit at the federal level so all firefighters employed by the federal government, including those working for the Department of Defense at locations in Delaware like the Dover Air Force Base, can more easily claim the benefits they deserve as a result of their service.

Also winning committee approval is the senator’s Information Technology Investment Oversight Enhancement and Waste Prevention Act of 2009 (S. 920) reforms the way federal agencies procure information technology investments by requiring agencies to:

– Plan investments correctly, upfront;

– Inform the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and Congress if projects experience significant roadblocks or cost overruns; and 

– Halt the project if costs spiral out of control. 

The information technology bill also gives the OMB the ability to help federal agencies by developing and deploying a team of expert project managers to prevent IT projects from falling off track. Finally, the bill establishes programs to incentivize and reward employees who perform well in their management of federal IT investments.

"In my Homeland Security subcommittee, I have examined many critical issues that call into question the federal government’s ability to use technological innovations to save money and improve customer service," said Sen. Carper. "The Information Technology Investment Oversight Enhancement and Waste Prevention Act is another one way to help manage costs and to make certain that every hard-earned tax dollar the government collects is used efficiently and effectively."

Both Carper bills must now be brought before the full Senate for a vote later this year.