Senate bill would suspend competitive sourcing

Federal agencies would be required to review their service contracts and to bring some types of previously contracted work in-house under new legislation authored by Sen. Barbara Mikulski.

Mikulski (D-Md.) introduced on April 29 the Clean-Up Act, also known as the Correction of Longstanding Errors in Agencies Unsustainable Procurements Act, or S. 924. The bill would indefinitely suspend the Bush administration’s competitive-sourcing competitions under Office of Management and Budget Circular A-76 and would make permanent changes to those rules.

The legislation builds on several provisions restricting competitive sourcing that were inserted into the recent fiscal 2009 Omnibus Appropriations Act, which put a hold on the A-76 privatization process.

Under the competitive-sourcing rules, agencies hold competitions to consider bids to contract work previously performed by federal employees. Under Mikulski’s bill, those public-private competitions would be delayed indefinitely until the OMB and inspectors general put new policies in place and ensure there is a level playing field for federal employees.

“Federal employees deserve to be treated fairly,” Mikulski said in a statement. “This bill will be a major step toward cleaning up the contracting abuses of the last eight years and bringing jobs that were wrongly awarded to private contractors back to where they belong: with our first-rate federal employees.”

The legislation would require agencies to return in-house all inherently governmental work that had been wrongly contracted out. It also includes those instructions for work that is closely related to inherently governmental work and to mission essential work.

Agencies must determine where they are experiencing workforce shortages and develop strategies to reduce those shortages. They also must keep inventories of service contracts.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

Reader Comments

Thu, Jun 4, 2009 Bob S. Virginia

Let's do this right. Test all federal employees once a year through a performance evaluation. If they pass, they keep their job. Contractors get fired when they can't perform. I've worked with good and bad (lazy, incompetent) Federal workers. This administration is setting up for a subsidized workforce called Federal workers if they don't measure the gain this legislation promises.

Thu, May 7, 2009 so

As a Federal worker I have seen years of how contract out has cost the government million of dollars, in all area of the government. not only 1/2 of contract workers are not trained right. but the federal employee.every time has to train the contract employee how to perform the job they were hire for. this cost the tax payer milliion of dollars each year.and not only that the contract cost increase they price each year,where a ferdeal employee takes two three years just for a step increase. while doing multiple task! until you walk in a federal workers shoes don't say a word .

Thu, May 7, 2009 RamJet NJ

“ . . . What it the real agenda?” I thought that was clear: “Federal employees deserve to be treated fairly,” Mikulski said in a statement. “This bill will be a major step toward cleaning up the contracting abuses of the last eight years [Bush is gone, why do these socialist feel compelled to attack at every chance? – Oh yea, it is warfare and they need to continue to poison people’s minds.] and bringing jobs that were wrongly awarded to private contractors back to where they belong: with our first-rate federal employees.” [In other words, bring back ALL government employees that lost out to A-76 competition.] The legislation would require agencies to return in-house all inherently governmental work that had been wrongly contracted out. [Including canceling contracts to bring back the government employees.] It also includes those instructions for work that is closely related to inherently governmental work and to mission essential work. [And block any thoughts of contacting out ANYTHING in the future.] Agencies must determine where they are experiencing workforce shortages and develop strategies to reduce those shortages. [Increase the number of government workers beyond current and former levels.] They also must keep inventories of service contracts. [Maintain target (enemies) list of contracted work to kill and replace with government workers.]

Thu, May 7, 2009 INSOURCE EVERYTHING

Why do contractors and their cheerleaders object to legislation that would require work that is inherently governmental and closely associated with inherently governmental be insourced? Why do contractors object to fixing the myriad problems in the A-76 process that have been identified by GAO, the DoD IG, Chairman Skelton, and others before using it again? Why should taxpayers and all Americans who depend on federal services take contractors' ill-informed, self-serving griping seriously?

Thu, May 7, 2009 Steve Texas

I think we have gone down this road before. Projects cost twice as much, took twice as long and were only half as effective as promised. Ms. Mikulski may have just forgotten. Please try to use a little common sense if your going to be in the Senate. Leave the haphazard bills to the House.

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