Legislation to watch

Although most experts don't expect lawmakers to make much policy this year, there are some bills worth watching. Among them:

Outsourcing

Sen. Chris Dodd's (D-Conn.) amendment to the Jumpstart Our Business Strength Act takes aim at the privatization of goods and services and limits the use of federal money for moving work to other countries.

Stan Soloway, president of the Professional Services Council (PSC), assailed the amendment and said he hopes cooler heads prevail in the House-Senate conference committee, which will resolve differences between the two bodies' versions of the bills.

"Clearly this has become an election-year issue that has led to a fair amount of hyperbole," he said.

Opponents of the amendment say that it fails to draw the critical distinction among technology jobs and other jobs.

"Such protectionist policy would increase the cost of government operations significantly by reducing competition for federal contracts and inviting retaliation from our overseas trading partners," said David Marin, spokesman for Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.).

Federal Technology Service

A measure in the Senate's Defense Appropriations bill would cap the service charge paid by agencies to the General Services Administration at 1 percent of money the Defense Department can pay to GSA's Federal Technology Service. PSC officials oppose this measure.

"Current rhetoric surrounding the issue is driving unnecessarily restrictive action," Soloway said.

Competitive sourcing

Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Carl Levin (D-Mich.) sponsored an amendment to the Office of Management and Budget's Circular A-76 that would increase protest rights of federal employees.

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