Bill provision would repeal GSA's new office

The General Services Administration’s move to combine its Office of Governmentwide Policy and Office of Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs under a new office may be in jeopardy.

House and Senate lawmakers placed a provision in the bill to keep the government funded through fiscal 2007 that would require GSA’s administrator to receive permission from both appropriations committees.

“[T]he Office of Governmentwide Policy and the Office of Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs shall continue to exist and operate separately, and none of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available by this division or any other act may be used to establish or operate an Office of Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs and Governmentwide Policy or any combination thereof without the explicit approval of the committees on Appropriations of the House of Representatives and the Senate,” the provision says.

Industry sources said Reps. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), chairman of the Government Reform and Oversight Committee, likely was responsible for the provision.

Calls to Waxman’s office were not immediately returned.

Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.), ranking member of the committee, is against the provision, his spokesman said.

“This is micro-managing nonsense,” said David Marin, minority staff director for the committee. “Davis had nothing to do with this language, and, in fact, is vocally opposing its inclusion in the [continuing resolution].”

GSA administrator Lurita Doan combined the offices in December, despite much concern in industry, on the Hill and within GSA.

"In many areas, we are trying to make GSA more efficient, communicate better and coordinate more effectively to help improve GSA’s interrelated work on legislation, regulation and policy, we established the Office of Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs and Governmentwide Policy," said Kevin Messner, associate administrator for the Office of Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs and acting associate administrator for the Office of Governmentwide Policy. "Under this new umbrella office is the Office of Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs and the Office of Governmentwide Policy, which will continue to be separate and distinct."

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