GSA reorg bill clears Congress, awaits president's signature

The General Services Administration's long-awaited reorganization is just the president's signature away from being complete.

Congress late Monday passed legislation that officially merged the Federal Technology and Federal Supply services into the Federal Acquisition Service, and also combined the IT and General Supply funds into the Acquisition Services Fund.

"This legislation removes the old structures that inhibit efficient federal purchases," said Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.), Government Reform Committee chairman and co-sponsor of the bill. "It will help GSA operate in a market that has evolved from standalone hardware or services to solutions that are a mix of products, services and technology."

The bill cleared the Senate earlier this month after several stalls and delays. The legislation initially passed the House in mid-2005.

After passing the Senate, the bill moved to a conference committee where members from both chambers hammered out the differences between the bills. Congressional observers close to the developments indicated that the differences were minor.

For instance, lawmakers agreed to let the GSA administrator appoint regional executives for FAS to facilitate closer oversight and authorize rehiring some recent retirees to address challenges facing the federal civilian acquisition workforce. Such workers would not have their annuity discontinued.

The issue of regional hiring was a sticking point in the Senate, as several members prevented the bill from being voted on because of concerns over staffing.

Rob Thormeyer is a staff writer for Washington Technology's sister publication, Government Computer News.

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