Brown Amendment Passes As Part Of Military Construction Legislation
With the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) sidestepping rules and outsourcing jobs held by veterans, U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today announced passage of his amendment requiring the VA to play by the rules and show a good reason before displacing government workers.
"There is a culture of privatization in the administration that leads to bad contracts, misused funds at the taxpayer's expense, and lack of accountability," Brown said.
Federal agencies are required to follow fair competition rules to ensure that privatizing jobs improves on the status quo. The VA has been bypassing the fair competition rules when outsourcing jobs. While Brown's amendment does not change current law, it reinforces that the VA is required to abide by fair competition rules. The amendment passed with bipartisan support, 52 to 39.
"It's bad enough that the VA is moving forward without actually figuring out what is in the best interest of taxpayers," Brown said. "But making matters even worse, four-fifths of the blue collar jobs targeted for outsourcing are held by veterans. Sidestepping rules to eliminate veterans' jobs is bad business and bad policy."
According to fair competition rules, federal agencies must allow the in-house workforce to submit its best bid, and the contractor must prove to be more efficient and cost effective in carrying out the competition in order to outsource the jobs. In bypassing the fair competition rules, the VA is preventing its employees, many of them veterans, from fighting for their jobs. This practice is particularly evident in blue collar jobs, including laundry, maintenance, and landscaping.
The Brown Amendment passed as part of the FY08 Veterans Affairs and Military Construction Appropriations Bill.
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