Senate Approves Collins’ Contracting Amendment in Treasury-Postal Spending Bill

WASHINGTON, D.C.— The Senate late yesterday approved a proposal by Senate Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Susan Collins (R-ME) that would level the playing field for federal employee groups to compete with outside contractors to retain their jobs. The amendment was included during floor debate on the FY 2004 Transportation, Treasury, and General Government Appropriations bill.

“The current competitive sourcing regulations, while an improvement over the previous version, could still disadvantage federal workers forced to undergo so-called ‘streamlined’ competition,” said Senator Collins, whose committee has jurisdiction over federal outsourcing and contracting issues. “By making this change, we are working to ensure that the competitive sourcing process is fair and efficient and does not usher in change just for change’s sake.”

The amendment would revise Circular A-76, which sets standards for competitive sourcing of government activities.

Specifically, Senator Collins’ amendment would restore the 10 percent advantage for the in-house bidder in competitions of more than 10 employees.

“Restoring the 10 percent differential is critical,” Senator Collins said, “because if an outside contractor can’t save the government at least 10 percent on performing a particular function, then the costs associated with dislocation and change simply aren’t worth it.”

The Collins amendment was cosponsored by Sens. Edward Kennedy (D-MA), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), and Tom Carper (D-DE).