September 18, 2013

ROLL CALL: After Navy Yard Shooting, Ayotte Calls for Hearing on Contractor Hiring.

Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire urged leaders of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs panel to hold a hearing on federal contractor hiring practices at military installations, following a mass shooting Monday at Washington, D.C.’s Navy Yard.

In a letter to Chairman Thomas R. Carper, D-Del., and ranking member Tom Coburn, R-Okla., Ayotte said senators should have a better understanding of hiring practices for contractors at military bases so that only qualified candidates who do not pose serious threats to personnel or national security become employed.

“In the wake of this tragedy, we must thoroughly review and fix deficiencies within existing federal contracting hiring practices that the alleged Washington Navy Yard gunman exposed and exploited to ensure the safety of the rest of our service family—servicemembers, civilian workers, and contractors, alike,” wrote Ayotte, who is a member of the panel. “It is with this in mind that I request a committee hearing as soon as possible to examine these important issues.”

Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., sent a letter to Navy Secretary Ray Mabus Tuesday demanding further answers about the Navy’s management and oversight of contractor access to Naval installations. McCaskill cited a watchdog report released Tuesday that detailed deficiencies in an independent contractor’s execution of the Navy Commercial Access Control System and failure to properly screen contract employees before they were granted access to Naval installations.

Well, in this tight job market, you can’t . . . oh, wait.

Related: Security gaps: Felons often on military bases, report finds. The country’s in the very best of hands.