A massive Dept. of Defense authorization bill that, at press time, was awaiting President Obama’s signature includes a provision to eliminate much of the fraud in individual surety bonds.
The $607-billion DOD bill, which the Senate approved on Nov. 10—eight days after the House passed it—also would increase the Small Business Administration’s flexibility in backing bonds for small contractors.
The surety provision tightens rules for using individual sureties on federal projects by requiring the assets backing such bonds to be real and deposited into an account that is in the federal government’s care.
The Surety & Fidelity Association of America and the National Association of Surety Bond Producers (NASBP) backed the surety language. NASBP, which has battled individual sureties in court and in state legislatures, sees the expected enactment of the provision as a major victory for its members and the industry. Mark McCallum, NASBP chief executive, said, “We are confident now our five years of toil to curb individualsurety abuses on federal construction contracts are paying off.” ENR investigations of individual sureties in 2013 revealed extensive use of deceptive assets.
Obama vetoed an earlier version of the DOD bill, whose spending tracked levels in the 2011 Budget Control Act. The revised measure’s funding follows the new two-year House- Senate budget pact, enacted on Nov. 2.