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Letter to Members of US Congress - Amendment to Promote Competition, Save Taxpayer Dollars


Location: Washington, DC

Dear Colleague:

The Amash-Sessions amendment to strike section 8015 from the Department of Defense appropriations bill will promote competition and save taxpayer dollars. Section 8015 places unnecessary and costly constraints on the Department's ability to save money by contracting out certain functions to the private sector. Section 8015 prohibits the Department of Defense from contracting out any function unless it will save a minimum of $10 million or 10 percent of the Department's performance costs--even if the private contractor is less costly overall and can perform the work more efficiently. Amendment 62 removes this burdensome requirement.

Independent studies conducted by both the public and private sector have found that public-private competitions lower costs by between 10 and 40 percent, regardless of whether the competition is won by a private contractor or the government. A 2008 memo from the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense confirmed that "competitive sourcing consistently results in greater government efficiency and cost-savings to the taxpayer." Rather than standing in the way of public-private competitions, Congress should cut the red tape and make the use of this cost-saving process easier, not harder.

In 2008, Congress ordered the Inspector General to conduct a comprehensive review of the Department's competitive sourcing activities. According to the report, the number of planned competitions has decreased every year since 2005, and decreased by almost 68 percent between the draft and final FY 2009 budgets. A moratorium has since halted competitions completely.

Since the report, Congress and the private sector have attempted to bring much-needed comprehensive reform to the Department's competitive sourcing guidelines, making public-private competitions more efficient, improving the tools available to Department officials, and bringing consistency and reliability to the process. The FY 2012 National Defense Authorization Act passed by Congress last month contains the beginning of those reforms.

The requirements in section 8015 are largely codified in existing statute. Retaining Section 8015 could obstruct or even nullify current attempts at reform and would place an additional hurdle in front of future improvements.

A "yes" vote on amendment no. 62 will be scored positively by the Business Coalition for Fair Competition. The amendment will reduce restrictions on the Department of Defense and make it easier to achieve significant reforms that will increase the availability of cost-saving competitions throughout the Department.

I urge you to support this common-sense, taxpayer-first amendment to H.R. 2219.


Justin Amash Pete Sessions
Member of Congress Member of Congress

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