Senate passes purchasing bill

The Senate has passed legislation to open to state and local governments the General Services Administration's contract for homeland security and law enforcement products and services.

The Local Preparedness Acquisition Act would open GSA’s Schedule 84 contract for cooperative purchasing agreements.

The House passed its version of the bill in December, and the Senate acted June 10, passing the measure by unanimous consent,

Currently, state and local governments can use only GSA’s schedule contracts to buy information technology products and services or when they’re recovering from a disaster.

Jim Williams, commissioner of GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service, which oversees the schedule contracts, said in a speech that state and local agencies should have had access long ago to all of GSA’s contracts. He said the bill should extend beyond Schedule 84 and even beyond state and local governments to organizations receiving federal grants. It would save money through bulk buying and would help with standardization among governments and grantees, he said.

However, before Schedule 84’s new customers can start buying, President Bush must sign the bill.

About the Author

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

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