State, local agencies may get more access to GSA contracts

State and local governments may soon have another way to save money and buy homeland security and public safety equipment.

The House unanimously passed the Local Preparedness Acquisition Act on Dec. 17. It opens the General Services Administration’s Schedule 84 contract beyond federal agencies to state and local ones.

More than 4 million commercial goods and services are available on GSA’s schedule contracts at negotiated discount prices. Schedule 84 offers security products such as alarm systems and law enforcement and security equipment.

Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-N.Y.), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee’s Government Management, Organization and Procurement Subcommittee, said the act would let local officials buy the items they need to improve safety while saving money.

Since 2002, state and local governments have been allowed to buy information technology products and disaster recovery products from GSA schedules using cooperative purchasing agreements.

This legislation would expand those agreements to items such as bomb detection equipment, perimeter security systems and other homeland security goods and services from GSA Schedule 84.

The bill would impose no federal mandate and would require no new spending. The cooperative purchasing program is voluntary.

The Congressional Budget Office said the bill has no net effect on federal spending and is the opposite of an unfunded mandate.

The Senate has yet to consider the legislation.

About the Author

Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

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