Rep. Jeff Denham: 'Abolish GSA altogether'

A Republican congressman is pressing for the abolishment of the General Services Administration, questioning whether the commercial sector could do a better job doing what GSA does. 

“I think we should abolish GSA altogether,” said Rep. Jeff Denham (R- Calif.) “I know it can sound harsh; it can sound controversial. I think it’s more important for them to come back and justify what does this agency do, what are its core competencies, are there other agencies that can pick up some of those duties? More importantly: Can private industry do it better?”

Denham, who chairs the Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings and Emergency Management, delivered his keynote address at the April 26 Coalition for Government Procurement 2012 Spring Conference. 

GSA currently is in charge of 14,000 buildings, and Denham questioned whether that real estate could be managed better in how it’s sold and leased. He also suggested an overhaul in the ways GSA sells unwanted vehicles at auctions.

“I think we can do things much more efficiently,” he continued. “But the whole point of it is, we press to abolish the GSA altogether. I think it’s important for them to come back and justify what their existence was. ”

However, Denham spoke mostly about the Public Buildings Service and did not say much about GSA's role in procuring IT and network services. Asked by an audience member whether Denham’s idea to dismantle GSA involved the Federal Acquisition Service, whose procurement methods the questioner described as “much better than DOD and other civilian agencies,” Denham replied he didn’t disagree “because I don’t have enough information.”

But he added that overall he wants GSA to defend its own need to exist.

“They’ve stonewalled me for a year and a half,” he added. “Until they can justify [their role] and they can prove to me that they can do it better than every other agency -- it’s expected they should do it better than every other agency. The question is: Can they do things better than private industry?”

About the Author

Camille Tuutti is a former FCW staff writer who covered federal oversight and the workforce.

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