That's up from $207 billion in 2000, the newspaper said.
Hurricane Katrina, the war in Iraq and domestic security have all contributed an increased need for government contractors. But not everyone is happy with the Bush administration's growing dependency on outsourcing, the newspaper said.
Rep. Henry A. Waxman, D-Calif., begins a series of hearings Tuesday on contracts in Iraq and the Department of Homeland Security in his new position as chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
"Billions of dollars are being squandered, and the taxpayer is being taken to the cleaners," Waxman told the Times.
David M. Walker, comptroller general and head of the Government Accountability Office, said contractors can't be expected to put the taxpayers first.
"Companies have duties of loyalty to their shareholders, not to the country," he told The Times.