TRAC Bill Dead in the Water, Davis Says

A bill aimed at stymieing federal outsourcing stands no chance of surviving a subcommittee review, Rep. Tom Davis, R-Va., said May 10.

Hearings on the Truthfulness, Responsibility and Accountability in Contracting Act are slated for June, said Davis, chairman of the House Government Reform subcommittee on technology and procurement. Davis was speaking at the Federal Outlook 2002 conference sponsored by research and consulting firm Federal Sources Inc. in McLean, Va.

The bill had expired in the House last year, but was reintroduced in February by Rep. Albert Wynn, D-Md., and 125 co-sponsors.

"If this [bill] passes, we can all pack up and go home," said Jim Kane, president and chief executive officer of Federal Sources, McLean.

But the information technology industry shouldn't worry, Davis said. "I just don't see it getting government any better value," he said of the bill.

Davis said the TRAC bill would take current A-76 practices to a new level, making it extremely difficult for the federal government to outsource services, particularly IT services being performed by an undermanned work force, Davis said. IT departments are experiencing a continual drain of qualified IT workers, he said.

The A-76 process is used by the government to determine whether a agency operation should be performed in-house or by the private sector.

The scheduled hearings will give legislators a chance to hear the concerns TRAC bill advocates have about outsourcing, Davis said.

Davis also told the group he will ask the General Accounting Office to investigate the benefits of outsourcing. "There is no evidence of how well it works," Davis said regarding the practice of contracting out projects that are not tied to departments' core missions.

GAO will review agency use of outsourcing contracts and examine the types of services they use to determine if the contracts are cost-effective.

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