Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., is one of the chief sponsors of the CLEANUP Act, which aims to steer more of the government's contracted work toward federal employees (Getty Images)
Democratic lawmakers are reviving a bill that would steer more of the government's contracted work toward federal employees.
The bill would temporarily halt all competitions that are conducted to decide whether to outsource federal work until the federal rules applying to those competitions — called Circular A-76 — are overhauled.
The bill — which chief sponsors Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., and Rep. John Sarbanes, D-Md., are calling the CLEANUP Act — calls for reforming those rules to effectively give more of an edge to federal employees. A-76 competitions under the bill would be halted until the OMB director and the inspectors general of the five largest agencies determine that the reforms called for in the bill are in place.
The reforms would include:
• Require the cost of conducting the study to be considered as part of the privatization review.
• Stop the automatic recompetition of federal work done in-house after five years.
• Impose time limits on privatization studies to keep agencies from changing work parameters.
Mikulski first introduced the bill in the previous Congress, but it was never considered in committee.
Sarbanes said Tuesday he is hopeful there will be more support for the bill this time since parts of it were incorporated in the House-passed National Defense Authorization Act last year but did not make it into the final legislation. "We will be looking to build on that progress," he said. "Now, more than ever, efficient, cost-effective government is paramount."
This year Republicans have also asked Congress to consider legislation that would require agencies to rely on the private sector when providing goods and services that are readily available. That bill, called the Freedom from Government Competition Act of 2011, was introduced by Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., in April.