Davis questions Treasury's approach to enterprise contract

Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.) is threatening to issue Treasury Department officials subpoenas forcing them to discuss the controversial Treasury Communications Enterprise contract at a hearing later this year.

The chairman of the House Government Reform Committee today said Treasury's insistence on going forward with its own contract instead of using a General Services Administration governmentwide vehicle "makes no sense."

"We are serious about this, and we will get to the bottom of this," Davis said during a conference in McLean, Va., sponsored by the Coalition for Government Procurement, an industry association. "We want Treasury to phase out this contract after Networx is awarded. We will call for a hearing on this."

Davis already has threatened to cut funding for TCE, a next-generation network and telecommunications contract, in an effort to stymie the procurement.

Treasury decided to award the $1 billion, 10-year TCE instead of waiting for the governmentwide Networx contract to become available. Bidders last year successfully protested the original TCE award to AT&T Corp. Treasury is expected to re-award the contract in the spring.

Meanwhile, Davis said he also is keeping a close eye on GSA's progress with the Networx telecommunications contract. The committee asked the Government Accountability Office to monitor how agencies prepare to transition to the new contract once GSA awards Networx in 2007.

"GSA did not structure all of Networx's segments the way we would have, but they have made strong progress," Davis said. "They are getting more competition than they expected, which means they will have to delay the award. I am not happy about that, but it shouldn't be too much of a problem."

While GSA tries to finish up Networx, the agency is waiting for Congress to pass legislation that would let it merge the IT Fund with the General Supply Fund. The merger of the two funds is the last major hurdle in the creation of the Federal Acquisition Service?the combination of the Federal Technology and the Federal Supply services.

Davis, author of the House version, said his committee is discussing the issues with the Senate and he believes they will pass the GSA Modernization Act this session.

"We think they will make changes that we can accept without it having to go to conference," Davis said. "Sen. [Christopher] Bond put a hold on the bill over a personnel issue in one of the regional offices. We are working through that issue. It is not a real substantive issue. We think we have the 60 votes to get it passed."

Jason Miller is assistant managing editor of Washington Technology's sister publication, Government Computer News.

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