Lawmakers say stop outsourcing


More lawmakers are calling on the Defense Department and the Office of Management and Budget to stop public-private competitions for federal work, which are conducted under OMB Circular A-76.

House Armed Services Committee chairman Ike Skelton, D-Mo. and Readiness Subcommittee chairman Solomon Ortiz, D-Texas, sent a pair of letters to OMB Director Peter Orszag and Defense Secretary Robert Gates on March 26. The letters urge them to stop using the circular and to conduct a review of competitive sourcing to ensure it’s the right thing for the government. 

The two House Democrats believe that competitive sourcing has become “a mandate in recent years for pushing more and more work into the private sector, even work that is closely associated with inherently governmental functions, in order to meet arbitrary competition goals.”

The lawmakers wrote:

Many of the Department’s A-76 studies have dragged on far beyond the time limits authorized in the 2003 revised Circular A-76, as well as those imposed by statute.  This creates an unfair strain on the federal employees whose jobs are being competed, as well as the contractors who have submitted bids for the work.

They noted that many military service leaders have asked DoD to cancel competitions under their command because the installation has an alternative approach or because the study was inappropriate, “only to be denied by the Department.” 

Skelton and Ortiz also cite the fact that President Barack Obama declared on March 4 that his administration “will stop outsourcing services that should be performed by the government.”

The call comes two days after the U.S. Military Academy announced that more than 300 public works jobs there would go to the private sector. The lawmakers representing those workers sent letters to Gates on March 18 asking him to cancel the competition before a decision was made.


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