Senator blocks GSA modernization bill

Text of H.R. 2066, GSA modernization bill

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Sen. Jim Jeffords (I-Vt.) has placed a formal hold in the Senate on H.R. 2066, the General Services Administration Modernization Act, which would create the Federal Acquisition Service Fund by merging the Information Technology Fund and the General Supply Fund.

GSA is concerned, and the House Government Reform Committee is upset about the block on the bill that would create an overarching service fund for GSA.

The House has passed the appropriations bill relating to GSA, which contains language to merge the two funds. The Senate has yet to pass its version of the same bill.

Sources say Jeffords may want language inserted from his bill on energy-efficient “green buildings.” His bill, the High-Performance Green Building Act of 2006, would authorize the use of $50 million over five years to encourage the development and use of energy-efficient, environmentally sound buildings.

GSA is the landlord of all federal properties in the U.S.

Jeffords’ move means he would object to the legislation, possibly by filibustering it, if the House bill comes to the Senate floor.

“We look forward to a resolution of this because consolidation of our procurement funds into the one fund will enable us to better serve our federal customers and the U.S. taxpayer,” said Jon Anderson, a spokesman for GSA.

“We’re profoundly disappointed that the senator would hold up this important reform over an unrelated item,” said Robert White, spokesman for the House committee.

“This is another example of the dysfunction of the Senate,” White said.

Jeffords’ office said it would not comment.

Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.), who chairs the House Government Reform Committee, introduced the legislation, and in May 2005 the House passed the bill by unanimous consent. On May 2, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee approved the legislation without objection.

“Of course we’re concerned, but we trust this will be resolved,” Anderson said.

In May, the Senate committee’s chairwoman, Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), and ranking member, Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.), expressed their support for the bill.

“There is a lot of bipartisan consensus in favor of it,” Lieberman said. “So hopefully it will go sailing through the Senate, and we’ll actually get something done.”


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