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.

FCW in Print

In the latest issue: Looking back on three decades of big stories in federal IT.

Featured

  • Anne Rung -- Commerce Department Photo

    Exit interview with Anne Rung

    The government's departing top acquisition official said she leaves behind a solid foundation on which to build more effective and efficient federal IT.

  • Charles Phalen

    Administration appoints first head of NBIB

    The National Background Investigations Bureau announced the appointment of its first director as the agency prepares to take over processing government background checks.

  • Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.)

    Senator: Rigid hiring process pushes millennials from federal work

    Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) said agencies are missing out on younger workers because of the government's rigidity, particularly its protracted hiring process.

  • FCW @ 30 GPS

    FCW @ 30

    Since 1987, FCW has covered it all -- the major contracts, the disruptive technologies, the picayune scandals and the many, many people who make federal IT function. Here's a look back at six of the most significant stories.

  • Shutterstock image.

    A 'minibus' appropriations package could be in the cards

    A short-term funding bill is expected by Sept. 30 to keep the federal government operating through early December, but after that the options get more complicated.

  • Defense Secretary Ash Carter speaks at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco

    DOD launches new tech hub in Austin

    The DOD is opening a new Defense Innovation Unit Experimental office in Austin, Texas, while Congress debates legislation that could defund DIUx.

Reader comments

Sat, Aug 4, 2012

I stand completely behind Rep Denham. The GSA could be abolished and taxpayers would be much better represented by a new structure.

Sat, May 5, 2012

Denbam should check his facts. GSA only controls 1200 buildings. The remaining 12,800 are controlled by other Government agencies.

Tue, May 1, 2012

This article and the comments are very kind. I was there for that speech. He was ill-informed, ignorant, and arrogant...and the audience knew it.

Mon, Apr 30, 2012

My last experience on an IT procurement where GSA was the middleman was abismal. I now use SEWP for my small procurements whenever possible.

Mon, Apr 30, 2012

Are there any East Coast Representatives on this discussions site ?

Show All Comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group