Davis considering leaving Congress

Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.) is a candidate to head the National Federation of Independent Business, a lobbying group, according to insiders.

Davis' spokesman Dave Marin denied the assertion. "Davis is staying put" and will seek re-election, Marin wrote in an e-mail. Sources in industry and on Capitol Hill, however, say that Davis is indeed up for the job.

Davis is an influential member of the House leadership and is chairman of the House Government Reform Committee.

If Davis leaves Congress -- whether it’s because he accepts a private-sector job or loses an election -- procurement observers say it would be a major blow to federal contracting. Although he is best known to the general public for calling hearings to investigate steroid use in Major League Baseball, the federal contracting world sees him as one of the few lawmakers who understands and cares about procurement.

"There are few people in Congress, if any, who are interested in and who take a commonsense approach to procurement issues like Mr. Davis," said Jonathan Aronie, a Washington, D.C., attorney and a Federal Computer Week columnist.

“Notwithstanding what I tell my wife, procurement is not a sexy topic," Aronie said. "It takes someone truly interested in promoting the public good, in maximizing the efficiency and transparency of the government, and in protecting the interests of the government and contractors to take this issue on."

Larry Allen, executive vice president at the Coalition for Government Procurement, said a Davis departure would leave a gap in Congress.

"There simply is no one else in the House who has the depth and breadth of federal procurement understanding that Davis does," Allen said. "He really knows the subject and has steered away from the easy partisan cheap shots that have sometimes been used to discuss federal contracting. His departure would also open the door to those who want to eradicate the last vestiges of procurement reform that were so hard to achieve."

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