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House bill urges DoD to halt insourcing

May. 27, 2011 - 06:00AM   |  
By SARAH CHACKO   |   Comments
A provision in the House-passed Defense authorization bill said the DoD should use federal employees only to perform "inherently governmental" functions and leave the rest to the private sector.
A provision in the House-passed Defense authorization bill said the DoD should use federal employees only to perform "inherently governmental" functions and leave the rest to the private sector. (Karen Bleier / Agence France-Presse)

House members sent a message to the Defense Department this week: Stop insourcing work done by contractors.

A provision in the House-passed Defense authorization bill said the Defense Department should use federal employees only to perform "inherently governmental" functions and leave the rest to the private sector. The measure was a "sense of Congress" amendment, meaning it relays legislators' intent but does not carry the force of law and cannot direct the Defense Department to stop outsourcing.

"The federal government should not be in the business of competing with its citizens and private enterprise, and as such, should not start or carry on activities if they can be procured more economically from a commercial source," said Rep. Nan Hayworth, R-N.Y., a co-sponsor of the amendment, on the House floor.

The Business Coalition for Fair Competition applauded the legislation as a step toward encouraging the creation of more private-sector jobs, not growing government.

The Professional Services Council trade association said in a statement the amendment could "further polarize the debate around rightsizing the acquisition workforce."

PSC vice president of government relations Roger Jordan said the department should have some flexibility to insource non-inherently governmental work to retain core capabilities and critical expertise, such as some acquisition workforce positions.

"It comes down to the fact that it's a balancing act," he said.

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