Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., is expected to introduce a bill tomorrow that will suspend government’s use of public-private competitions for federal work.
If Mikulski’s Correction of Longstanding Errors in Agencies Unsustainable Procurements (CLEAN UP) Act becomes law, agencies will be barred from using competition rules set under Office of Management and Budget Circular A-76 until they implement the following provisions:
- Amend the A-76 process to include the full cost of conducting a competition, to charge in-house bidders only for actual overhead costs, to abolish automatic re-competition of work won by federal employees, and to impose a firm time limit on studies.
- Ensure that work considered inherently governmental functions and functions closely related to inherently governmental work is only performed by federal employees. Where such work is outsourced, agencies must develop plans to bring the work back in house.
- Encourage agencies to give feds the opportunity to compete for new work, work outsourced without competition or outsourced work that is poorly performed, even if the work was properly outsourced.
- Require that agencies inventory contracts to find contracts for inherently governmental work, contracts awarded without competition, and contracts that are being poorly performed.
- Require agencies to develop plans for handling predicted staffing shortages in federal career fields.
The proposed, temporary suspension of A-76 competitions– frequently referred to as outsourcing, privatization or competitive sourcing– would be lifted once the OMB director and the inspectors general of the five largest departments determine these provisions have been “substantially implemented.”
In a statement, Mikulski said:
The Bush Administration made a mess of federal personnel contracting – pushing contracting out even when it wasted taxpayer dollars and undermined the mission of our federal agencies. … This bill will be a major step towards cleaning up the contracting abuses of the last eight years and bringing jobs that were wrongly awarded to private contractors back to where they belong – with our first-rate federal employees.
The bill will be co-sponsored by Senators Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio; Roland Burris, D-Ill.; Robert Casey, D-Pa.; Dick Durbin, D-Ill.; Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y.; Edward Kennedy D-Mass.; Patrick Leahy, D-Vt.; Patty Murray, D-Wash.; and Charles Schumer, D-N.Y.