Letter to House of Representatives on HR 2989
November 5, 2003
The Honorable Robert B. Aderholt
1433 Longworth House Office Building
United States House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515
Dear Representative Aderholt:
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world's largest business federation representing more than three million organizations of all sizes, sectors and regions, urges you to support fair, efficient government contracting procedures during conference negotiations on H.R. 2989, the FY 2004 Transportation, Treasury, and General Government Appropriations Act. In particular, we respectfully urge you to retain the Federal Prison Industries (FPI) reform language included in the Senate bill and remove any language that would hinder efficient competitive sourcing activities.
Language included in the Senate bill would effectively end FPI's preferential status by allowing federal agencies to decide how to best meet their procurement needs by examining existing marketplace opportunities and purchasing products on a competitive basis. It would require FPI to be a more responsible supplier while allowing the private sector to compete fairly for federal contracts by eliminating the requirement that government agencies purchase products and services from FPI. Without reform, FPI will continue its unfettered expansion in the federal market even though the private sector can better address the needs of government agencies and taxpayers by providing higher quality products and services at a lower price.
We also urge that you reject language that would prohibit funding for the use of the recently revised Office of Management and Budget Circular A-76, impose unnecessary restrictions or disadvantage the private sector in the competitive sourcing process. Competitive sourcing aims to improve government performance and save taxpayer dollars by holding fair competitions between the public and private sectors for commercial functions. On average, a 30% savings is realized when competitions are held regardless of who wins and, contrary to common rhetoric, the public sector actually wins over 50% of the time. The recent revisions to A-76 were the focus of extensive public debate and comment therefore any language beyond basic reporting requirements is arbitrary and restrictive and should be removed from the final bill.
We respectfully urge you to place taxpayers interests first, and support fair, efficient government competition by retaining FPI reform language and rejecting adverse competitive sourcing language in the final Transportation, Treasury Appropriations conference agreement
R. Bruce Josten
Executive Vice President, Government Affairs
U.S. Chamber of Commerce