White House wants limits on competitive sourcing out of funding bill

The Bush Administration wants Congress to alter language in pending appropriations legislation that prevents several key agencies—such as the Agriculture and Interior departments—from participating in certain E-government initiatives and limits the agencies' use of competitive sourcing.

H.R. 5386, the Department of the Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Appropriations Act for fiscal 2007, precludes the agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency, from spending more than $3.4 million on competitive sourcing programs without first submitting a proposal to the congressional appropriations committees detailing a reprogramming of funds proposal.

USDA’s Forest Service may not use more than $2.5 million for competitive sourcing activities, but is exempt from having to send a report.

The language also prohibits the agencies from using funds in the bill for E-government projects like SAFECOM, a program led by the Homeland Security Department to improve public safety response among all levels of government, and Disaster Management.

In a Statement of Administration Policy today, the Office of Management and Budget said that while it generally supports the bill, the limits on competitive sourcing are unnecessary and could keep the Forestry Service, for example, from meeting its mission.

“By exempting wildfire management personnel from competitions, the provision creates an incentive to limit the amount of personnel available to conduct other critical mission efforts,” OMB said.

OMB also urged Congress “to fully fund the SAFECOM and Disaster Management E-government initiatives,” the SAP said.

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