Amendments would slow outsourcing

Three new amendments to federal spending bills will, if passed, choke the Bush administration's effort to compete government jobs within the private sector.

One amendment would prevent the Homeland Security Department from competing 1,000 immigration services jobs. The others, attached to the Transportation and Treasury department bills, would scrap the 15-month-old, public-private competition process altogether until the administration devises a process fairer to federal employees, said sponsor Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.).

Agencies would instead use the old process, which was criticized by industry and government as too long and complicated.

A government official called the effort to stop competition of immigration service jobs "troubling" because of low staff levels, but a labor leader blamed the staffing problems on the administration's hiring freeze.

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