House committee passes GSA reorganization bill

The House Government Reform Committee today made it easier for the General Services Administration to reorganize.

The committee passed by unanimous voice vote the GSA Modernization Act, HR 2066, introduced yesterday by Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.), chairman of the committee.

Davis said the bill will "bring [GSA] in line with the commercial market it must capture for its federal agency customers. This bill begins to remove old structures that inhibit efficient federal purchases of solutions that are a mix of products, services and technology."

The administration in President Bush's fiscal 2006 budget proposal said it will reorganize GSA by merging the Federal Technology and Federal Supply services into the Federal Acquisition Service, and combining the IT and General funds.

Ranking member Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) did not oppose the bill even though he recently had expressed reservations about the reorganization.

"While I would have preferred a more thorough analysis of the benefits of the consolidation, the proposal would seem to offer increased organization efficiency and improved coordination of the functions and services currently provided," he said at the markup.

The legislation, which now moves to the full House for a vote that has yet to be scheduled, mirrors a lot of what GSA is doing, said Susan Marshall, associate administrator in the Office of Performance and Improvement.

"We see them as parallel," she said. "There are no significant differences, just some minor tweaks."

GSA is due to deliver a draft proposal by May 31 on how to reorganize FTS and FSS, and Marshall said the working groups are "on track with their milestones."

Davis' bill would provide for the combining of FTS and FSS and the two funds into a Acquisition Services Fund. It also would require the GSA administrator to appoint at most five regional executives for the Federal Acquisition Service to provide "closer oversight and more management control" over acquisition.

Finally, the legislation would let agencies give retention bonuses up to 50 percent of the employee's salary if the agency head considers the person unusually highly skilled or uniquely qualified and the person would otherwise leave the federal government or transfer to another agency.

Davis also introduced the Acquisition Services Improvement Act, HR 2067?the follow-on to the Services Acquisition Reform Act. Congress passed parts of the act attached to the Defense Authorization Bill of 2004.

ASIA's major provisions include:

  • An acquisition exchange program to permit public and private-sector acquisition workers to work in the other's environment for a specific period of time.

  • Extending the share-in-savings provision for IT contracts for three years.

  • Codify that a protest of an acquisition to the agency stops work on the project until the issue is resolved.

  • Requiring the use of commercially available online procurement services, particularly reverse auctions.

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