Anti-A-76 provisions draw veto threat

Bush administration officials said they would veto at least one of the fiscal 2004 appropriations bills if it contains a provision that would restrict or prohibit its competitive sourcing initiatives.

Clay Johnson, the Office of Management and Budget's recently confirmed deputy director for management, said the administration has "very serious concerns" about Congress' desire to limit the administration's competitive sourcing initiative.

Johnson sent the letter July 10 to Reps. Ernest Istook (R-Okla.) and John Olver (D-Mass.), chairman and ranking member on the House Appropriations Committee's Transportation, Treasury and Independent Agencies Subcommittee.

In the letter, Johnson said a proposed amendment prohibiting competitive sourcing "may jeopardize the swift enactment of this important legislation."

Angela Styles, administrator of OMB's Office of Federal Procurement Policy, was more blunt at a press briefing on the President's Management Agenda.

Any attempt to prohibit the administration from competing the Federal Aviation Administration's air traffic controllers and ensure that the most efficient organization is performing the tasks will result in a veto, Styles said.

A vocal group of lawmakers have stated their opposition to the competitive sourcing initiative, worrying that it could cause mass outsourcing and disrupt federal employees. Several have proposed amendments to fiscal 2004 appropriations bills limiting or prohibiting such competitions.

"If they were passed, [these provisions] would certainly be an impediment to our initiative, but I don't think we believe they will be passed," Styles said.

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