Bill would block use of competition system

A House appropriations bill in its early stages seeks to block use of the public/private competition system for a year and let the next president deal with the issue, a House member has said.

Rep. José Serrano (D-N.Y.), chairman of the Financial Services and General Government appropriations subcommittee, said June 17 the governmentwide provision would halt "this administration's controversial and detrimental federal workforce program."

Competitive sourcing, governed by the Office of Management and Budget's Circular A-76, pits federal employees against contractors for government work that isn't deemed inherently governmental, and administration officials have said on numerous occasions that the competitions save the government money.
Citing a May report, Paul Denett, Office of Federal Procurement Policy administrator, said he expects the competitions completed in fiscal 2007 to yield nearly $400 million in savings during the next five years.

However, the fiscal 2008 Consolidated Appropriations Act requires the administration to tell Congress how it calculates the billions of dollars in savings that officials say come through competitive sourcing.

Congress has opposed the initiative in other bills and continues to work to contain its use. Most recently, the fiscal 2009 National Defense Authorization Act, passed by the House May 22, would suspend such competitions until 2011.

Serrano's bill was sent to the Appropriations Committee June 17 for further consideration. The text of the bill won't be released until the committee approves the legislation.

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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