House establishes contracting caucus

Four House members have formed a new group, the Smart Contracting Caucus, to get more lawmakers and staff members involved in federal contracting. They formed the group as a leading policy-maker in the field, Rep, Tom Davis (R-Va.), is retiring.

The new caucus includes Davis, the ranking member of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee. The other are Reps. Joe Courtney (D-Conn.), Christopher Shays (R-Conn.), and Christopher Carney (D-Pa.), Davis announced May 22.

The caucus will be a venue for House members to share their experiences regarding small business economic development with other members, Davis said. The caucus will allow House and staff members to share information and hold briefings with experts from think tanks, academia, industry and government and independent oversight organizations.

More than a dozen committees and subcommittees in Congress have jurisdiction over various facets of the federal contracting system, according to Davis.

"The federal procurement system can be complicated and cumbersome, and making it more competitive, accessible, accountable and transparent requires a thoughtful, reasonable review," the announcement said.

Davis said he enjoyed the Feb. 18 editorial cartoon in Federal Computer Week that depicted members of Congress at "Tom Davis' retirement party" attempting to hook up a complicated device labeled "procurement minutiae."

"It was funny and flattering, but it's not accurate," Davis said. Davis said he's had an advantage in this area over other House members because of his background in procurement law, which allows him to understand a lot of the nuances of contracting laws.

However, "there are plenty of other procurement leaders ready to take up the cause," he said. "Unfortunately, we also have some who would sacrifice smart procurement for short-term political gain. It's time those of us who get it to do something to broaden our number and our voice."

Matthew Weigelt writes for Federal Computer Week, an 1105 Government Information Group publication.

About the Author

Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

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