AGRICULTURE, RURAL DEVELOPMENT, FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION, AND RELATED AGENCIES APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2008 -- (House of Representatives - August 02, 2007)
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Mr. SESSIONS. Mr. Chairman, my amendment would strike language included on page 3 of this legislation, which would have the same anti-competitive effect as language already included in almost every other one of the Democrat majority's appropriations bills, by preventing funds from being spent to conduct public-private competitions.
In this case, it would prevent funds from being used to allow the private sector to compete against the government for jobs by limiting the Agriculture Department's Chief Financial Officer's ability to spend money on this taxpayer-friendly activity until he provides a redundant report back to Congress on the Department's contracting policies.
While this policy may be good for increasing dues payments to public sector union bosses, it is unquestionably bad for taxpayers and for Federal agencies because agencies are left with less money to spend on their core missions when Congress takes the opportunity to use competition and takes that ability away from them.
In 2006, Federal agencies competed only 1.7 percent of their commercial workforce, which makes up less than one-half of 1 percent of the entire civilian workforce. This very small use of competition for services is expected to generate savings of over $1.3 billion over the next 10 years by closing performance gaps and improving efficiencies.
Competitions, completed since 2003, are expected to produce almost $7 billion in savings for taxpayers over the next 10 years. This means that taxpayers will receive a return of about $31 for every $1 spent on the competition with an annualized savings of more than $1 billion.
This provision is obviously needed to stall public, private competitions for an entire fiscal year, rather than allowing a proven process to work, as it was intended, and it would harm taxpayers by denying the Department of Agriculture the ability to focus its scarce resources and expertise on core missions.
This concerted effort to prevent competition sourcing from taking place at the Department of Agriculture comes just a week after the House passed an agriculture bill that goes way beyond the Federal scope and strips States of their ability to use competitive sourcing to improve their own food stamp programs, demonstrating that the Democrat leadership is hearing clearly from labor bosses that the Agriculture appropriations bill represents yet another good opportunity to increase their power at the expense of taxpayers and good government.
In this time of stretched budgets and bloated Federal spending, Congress should be looking to use all the tools it can to find taxpayer savings and reduce the cost of savings that are already being provided by thousands of hardworking companies nationwide.
Mr. Chairman, I include in the Record letters of support for this amendment from the Fair Competition Coalition.
THE FAIR COMPETITION COALITION,
August 2, 2007.
Hon. PETE SESSIONS,
House of Representatives,
DEAR REPRESENTATIVE SESSIONS: The Fair Competition Coalition supports your efforts to remove from Title I the anti-A-76 language from the Fiscal Year 2008 Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (H.R. 3161).
We are writing to express our strong opposition to the language in Title I under the Chief Financial Officer section, which would stop all funding of the Department's FAIR Act Inventories and all A-76 competitive studies. On behalf of the thousands of companies and hundreds of thousands of employees represented by the associations listed below, we urge adoption of this amendment.
The Federal Activities Inventory Reform (FAIR) Act was enacted during the Clinton Administration, and received strong bi-partisan support in the Congress as well as union and industry support. The law simply requires each Federal agency to publish an inventory of all its commercial activities.
This prohibition will hinder the agency's ability to identify and access the best and most efficient sources for the performance of its commercial activities. All relevant studies have shown that the competition process itself, regardless of outcome, results in savings exceeding 20%. The prohibition on identifying and studying these positions is thus highly inappropriate and unfortunate for the taxpayer, as well as a restriction on the ability of any President to manage the Federal government.
FCC supports adoption of your amendment to remove this harmful language from HR. 3161.
Aerospace Industries Association, American Congress on Surveying and Mapping, Airport Consultants Council, American Council of Independent Laboratories, American Council of Engineering Companies, American Electronics Association, American Institute of Architects, Associated General Contractors of America, Business Executives for National Security, Construction Management Association of America, Contract Services Association of America, Design Professionals Coalition, Electronic Industries Alliance, Information Technology Association of America, Management Association for Private Photogrammetric Surveyors, National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds, National Defense Industrial Association, National Federation of Independent Business, Professional Services Council, Small Business Legislative Council, Textile Rental Services Association of America, The National Auctioneers Association, United States Chamber of Commerce.
I urge all of my colleagues to support this commonsense taxpayer first amendment to oppose the underlying provision to benefit public union sector bosses by keeping cost savings competition alive to the government.
Mr. Chairman, I reserve the balance of my time.
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