Davis plans to add time-and-materials provision to new SARA

Rep. Tom Davis, chairman of the House Government Reform Committee, will propose a modified version of his Services Acquisition Reform Act that includes a provision to allow agencies to use time-and-materials and labor-hours contracts to buy services.

The Virginia Republican, who introduced SARA in the 107th Congress but could not get it out of committee, today said that these types of contracts are commonly used in the private sector and the agencies should be allowed to use them permanently.

Davis gave a keynote address today at the PSX Exposition in Washington sponsored by the General Services Administration and Post Newsweek Tech Media, parent of Washington Technology. His addition to SARA comes after the Office of Federal Procurement Policy last summer caused a stir by debating the legality of using these types of contracts in service buys.

OFPP finally relented on the debate but vowed to address it another time.

"There are a number of changes, but the bill's basic themes will be the same," a Davis staff member said.

The new bill also will establish a procurement advisory panel of experts to review governmentwide laws and regulations, Davis said.

"The panel will make recommendations to ensure greater use of commercial practices," Davis said. "This will help us further unlock the stovepiped structure of systems that every agency faces."

Davis also wants to make permanent the emergency procurement authority for the Homeland Security Department. It is scheduled to expire Sept. 30, 2007.

He said there would be a provision to let agencies extend service contracts longer than the traditional five years if the vendor is providing exceptional service.

Davis did not say when he will introduce the bill, except that it would be in the first part of the congressional session.

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