Battle over sourcing rules swings back in industry's favor

Language contained in the fiscal 2004 Transportation-Treasury spending bill that would have curtailed some new procedures for competition of federal jobs has been altered in an omnibus spending bill.

The new language is in a consolidated spending bill covering appropriations for the departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Education, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Justice, Labor, State, Transportation, Treasury, Veterans Affairs and the District of Columbia.

The omnibus bill, H.R. 2673, includes these changes:

  • New, streamlined procedures for public-private competition of work done by 10 or fewer federal employees will apply only to the agencies covered by the Transportation, Treasury and Independent Agencies Appropriations Act instead of all federal agencies, as proposed in the Transportation-Treasury bill.

  • Elimination of a requirement in the Transportation-Treasury bill that a private-sector offer would have to be 10 percent or $10 million less than the government's offer to be considered. Now, agencies are only required to consider cost as one factor.

  • Elimination of an appeal procedure for employees losing outsourcing competitions. The Transportation-Treasury bill had allowed the agency official in charge of a government bid or an individual appointed by the employees, such as a union official, to appeal an A-76 award to the General Accounting Office.

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