Union urges Congress not to pass outsourcing bill

Lawmakers this week will review a bill that encourages the federal government to seek private contractors for goods and service in cases where it can be performed cheaper and more efficiently outside of the federal government, and one major federal employee union isn’t pleased.

“Essentially, the bill would allow politically well-connected businesses to take over most of government responsibilities, opening the door to mission failure, the corrupting influence of politics, and conflicts of interest,” the American Federation of Government Employees posted on its website. “Contractors are two to three times more expensive than federal employees doing the same work, so the taxpayers would be on the hook for higher costs,” the group added.

The  House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform is scheduled to markup the Freedom from Government Competition Act of 2018 on March 15.

The legislation in a sense would codify the “Yellow Pages” test, which says that if the federal government is doing something that can be found in the Yellow Pages, the product or service should be subject to market competition to ensure better value for the taxpayer.

However, AFGE contends that the bill is a waste of taxpayer money and would be a “tremendous and unnecessary” expense.

In a letter to the chair and ranking member of the committee, AFGE said, “Unlike contractors, federal employees perform government services on a not-for-profit basis…In an era where the integrity of government is constantly threatened by politics, the last think Congress should do is expand the role of unaccountable and politically-connected contractors.”

AFGE also noted a number of ways it believes that private business are attempting to takeover government functions, including working to repeal a governmentwide ban on outsourcing studies, reclassify hundreds of thousands of federal jobs so that they could be outsourced, and speeding up the outsourcing process.

Reader comments

Tue, Mar 20, 2018

Lets out source congress and senate by passing a term limits bil; no more career politicians and reduce salaries by 80%. Then house them in DC public housing so they can be near their offices to vote on impending legislation.

Mon, Mar 19, 2018

The unions representing federal rank and file workers are worthless. They roll over and let the congress and senate do anything they want. The unions are great at paying their executives high salaries and taking costly union dues. Look what they represented the federal employee under Clinton, Bush, Obama when it came to annual salary increases. They surely did not assist in keeping down the costs of health insurance premiums. Talk the talk and spew more hot air! That is what they do best.

Thu, Mar 15, 2018

I disagree with Union. If there is a clear information that privately can save money, they it should be a competition to determine what is the best option. Look at our Postal Service, AMTRAK, etc. Year after year, they work in red, and nobody does anything! It's time to change this.

Thu, Mar 15, 2018 Marvin Elmowitz

Private contractor's profits must be in access of the operation cost to cover their personnel benefits (i.e. their salary and fringe benefits- that include stocks). This access does NOT exist for the current civil service.

Thu, Mar 15, 2018

“'Contractors are two to three times more expensive than federal employees doing the same work, so the taxpayers would be on the hook for higher costs,' the group added." ........ If that's actually true, then there is nothing to worry about with this bill, since it says, "encourages the federal government to seek private contractors for goods and service in cases where it can be performed cheaper..." Quit whining, AFGE!

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