Sen. Joseph Lieberman, Ind-Conn., Senate Homeland Security chairman, and Susan Collins, R-Maine, the committee's ranking Republican, said Tuesday they were "astounded" to learn the department had more than 200,000 contractor employees on its payroll, CNN reported.
In a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, the senators called the situation "unacceptable, untenable and unsustainable."
In a letter sent Tuesday to the agency's Secretary Janet Napolitano, Lieberman and Collins said the number of contractors "raises the question of whether DHS itself is in charge of its programs and policies, or whether it inappropriately has ceded core decisions to contractors."
Napolitano was scheduled to appear before the Senate committee and is expected to face questions on the subject. The senators said they want a unit-by-unit breakdown of where in the department contractors are working and assurances that the outside employees weren't performing "inherently governmental work."