Letter to the U.S. House of Representatives Opposition to Amendments to the Fiscal Year 2003 Treasury Postal Appropriations Bill
To Members of the United States House of Representatives:
On behalf of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world's largest business federation representing more than three million businesses and organizations of every size, sector and region, I would like to express our opposition to any amendments offered during floor consideration of the Treasury-Postal Appropriations bill that would restrict funding for federal contracts or limit the flexibility of federal agencies to make wise contracting decisions beneficial to both our nation's businesses and government stakeholders — the American taxpayer.
Representative Moran is expected to offer an amendment that would prohibit agencies from using appropriated funds to establish, apply or enforce any numerical goals for conducting public-private competitions for commercial functions within federal agencies. The amendment attempts to legislatively weaken the President's authority — any President — to manage the Federal government. It is directly counter to efforts by the Bush Administration to increase government efficiency through competition between the public and private sectors. It would limit the President's ability to establish goals for outsourcing, and other procurement and acquisition workforce initiatives, as done in previous administrations, including President Clinton's. During committee consideration of this legislation, Representative Moran offered this same amendment, which was soundly defeated.
The Chamber is also concerned about proposed amendments that would impose restraints and excessive reporting requirements on the federal contracting process. Representative Wynn is expected to offer an amendment that would prohibit funding for any outsourcing activities unless a lengthy, costly public-private competition is conducted in accordance with the requirements set forth in the Office of Management and Budget's Circular A-76. This amendment severely limits ability of federal agencies to make competitive sourcing decisions in a timely manner by adding steps in the already massive bureaucracy, while increasing costs and limiting private sector involvement.
Furthermore, we are opposed to language that was adopted in full committee which would impose restrictions on the federal government's ability to contract with subsidiaries of certain publicly traded corporations merely because they are incorporated in so-called tax haven countries. We believe that corporations should be free to incorporate where they choose, without the federal government imposing economic penalties upon their free exercise of prudent business decision-making. This attempt to penalize corporations for perceived instances of "corporation expatriation" is a poor substitute for overdue, comprehensive reform of the U.S. tax code's archaic international provisions.
The time is now to create more efficient and effective partnerships between the public and private sector, especially as we face the complex challenges of homeland security, national defense and keeping our borders, economy and society both safe and free. The U.S. Chamber urges you to oppose these or any amendments that restrict competitive sourcing policies by limiting funding or flexibility in the decision-making process.
R. Bruce Josten
Executive Vice President, Government Affairs
U.S. Chamber of Commerce