Bill would suspend new outsourcing

More than 60 Congress members support legislation that would temporary suspend

contracting out by federal agencies, however the bill is unlikely to pass

this session.

Last week at the request of the American Federation of Government Employees

(AFGE), Rep. Albert Wynn (D-Md.) introduced the Truthfulness, Responsibility,

and Accountability in Contracting Act. The bill would prevent agencies from

awarding new outsourcing contracts until they can prove they're cost-effective

and beneficial. Exceptions would include items such as national security.

The bill (H.R. 3766) would also:

* Require agencies to track costs and savings from outsourcing.

* Require public-private competition before contracting out.

* Abolish arbitrary personnel ceilings to enable agencies to hire more

workers if they could do the job more efficiently.

* Require agencies to hold contractors to the same level of public-private

competition as federal employees.

* Demand more data on wages and benefits.

The bill is an attempt to raise the awareness of outsourcing among Congress

members and the administration and to have legislation ready when vendors

make their expected push for legislation that would encourage the practice,

according to AFGE. But it's highly unlikely that the bill will become law

this year.

If the bill were to pass, the government would "practically come to a halt,"

said Olga Grkavac, vice president with the Information Technology Association

of America's Enterprise Solutions Division. "There aren't enough government

workers to do the work."

ITAA does not support the legislation, Grkavac said. "Clearly, we think

it would be detrimental," she said. "The government is already having trouble

with IT recruitment."

The bill has been referred to the House Committee on Government Reform.


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