NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


October 14, 2005

Most of the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) $1.5 billion contracts for post-hurricane assistance were awarded with little or no competitive bidding, prompting federal auditors to raise questions, says the Wall Street Journal.

Some of the largest contracts given were:

  • Bechtel National, providing temporary housing in Mississippi.
  • Fluor, providing temporary housing in Louisiana.
  • CH2M Hill, providing temporary housing in Alabama.
  • Shaw Group, refurbishing existing buildings and pumping water from New Orleans.

FEMA Director R. David Paulison notes that it isn't always feasible to go through the proper bidding process during a disaster, but the agency is going to go back and re-bid all of the "no-bid" contracts.

FEMA has spent about $2 billion for 120,000 temporary trailers and mobile homes, but only 109 families have been put in them. FEMA estimates that just 68,200 refugees are still in shelters, and 600,000 people have registered for its rental program.

Senator Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.) advised that it would have been better for FEMA to have standby contracts in place before the disaster than to have to rush them through after a disaster.

Source: Robert Block, "FEMA Will Rebid Contracts," Wall Street Journal, October 7, 2005.

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