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A bipartisan group of senators is urging the Defense Department—which is owed millions of dollars in uncollected debts from defense contractors--to quickly address what they call “troubling deficiencies” in its debt collection efforts.

A report this year by the department’s Inspector General reveals that DOD has $209 million in outstanding debt due from defense contractors, due to its poor recordkeeping that makes it difficult to track and collect the outstanding funds. Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., chairman of the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management, along with Sens. Scott Brown, R-Mass., Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., and Tom Coburn, R-Okla., sent a letter to the Defense Finance and Accounting Service to request an inventory of pending contractor debts and the results of its collection activities for fiscal years 2005 through 2010.

“In these times of ever shrinking budgets, a soaring deficit, and disturbingly-high levels of wasteful spending across the federal government, the Department of Defense must do all it can to get its fiscal house in order,” Carper said in a statement. “Adding insult to injury, the Department’s poor bookkeeping can mean that delinquent contractors who owe the government money might actually still be receiving payments from the government.”

Brown, the subcommittee’s ranking member, added: "In light of the current budget crisis, we simply cannot afford to let hundreds of millions of dollars owed to the federal government go unpaid because of poor financial management practices at DoD."

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