Industry oppose outsourcing ban

A group of industry advocacy organizations sent a letter to Congress Wednesday urging opposition to a provision that would ban competitive sourcing studies in the Interior Department.

The letter urges support for an amendment co-sponsored by Reps. Pete Sessions (R-Texas) and Tom Davis (R-Va.) that would strip the ban from the Interior appropriations bill.

Davis and Sessions will introduce the amendment today, said Olga Grkavac, executive vice president of the enterprise solutions division of the Information Technology Association of America, one of the letter's co-signers.

"We're part of a coalition. It's a large group," she said. Other signatories include the Aerospace Industries Association of America, the American Electronics Association, the Contract Services Association of America, the Professional Services Council and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. There are 21 organizations in all.

The one-page letter, sent as a "blast fax," urges lawmakers to support competitive sourcing, a controversial practice that could open hundreds of thousands of federal jobs to private-sector competition. The Bush administration, backed by industry, is pushing hard for agencies to hold competitions.

Angela Styles, administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, earlier this week said the president would veto any legislation that forbids competitive sourcing.

According to the letter, Interior has identified about 30 percent of is positions — 20,000 of them — as being commercial in nature, and plans to study about half of those to see if they are appropriate for competition. Department employees have won about half of the competitions the agency has held in the past, the letter notes.

"Not a single [Interior] employee has been involuntarily separated as a result of competition," it adds.

Grkavac said that she expects proponents of competitive sourcing to win the legislative battles.

However, she added, "We're seeing it on every bill. We can't let up because the potential is that it will be offered on every major appropriations bill. They're literally popping up everywhere. Those and the Buy American amendments are like whack-a-mole." Those amendments limit agencies' ability to purchase foreign-made goods.

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