The House Judiciary Committee approved legislation Friday that
would exempt certain service contracts from federal acquisition
rules and support training programs for government procurement
Under the 2003 Services Acquisition Reform Act (H.R.
1837), sponsored by Rep. Tom Davis, R-Va., some contractors
providing widely available commercial services would receive
exemptions from cost accounting standards on sole source
agreements worth up to $15 million. The bill also encourages
government agencies to enter into share-in-savings agreements,
where they would share the windfall generated from new innovations
In addition, Davis' legislation establishes a fund for training
federal acquisition officers and allows these employees to work in
the private sector temporarily as part of an exchange program.
Similar legislation introduced by Davis last year never made it
out of committee.
The Judiciary Committee voted Friday on a version
of the bill that the House Government Reform Committee
approved in early May, by a margin of 22 to 18.
Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner Jr.,
R-Wis., disposed of the bill, which he said he considered
“noncontroversial,” early in Friday's mark-up session.
Rep. Robert Scott, D-Va., offered the only amendment, asking
the committee to delete a section of the bill that would force the
Federal Prison Industries to compete with companies for federal
contracts. Government agencies are currently required to buy items
crafted under the FPI program whenever possible.
Scott argued that this section of the bill duplicates measures
already included in a separate piece of legislation—the 2003
Federal Prison Industries Competition in Contracting Act (H.R.
1829)—and is therefore unnecessary.
Sensenbrenner urged the committee to leave the section in the
legislation, arguing that agencies should not be forced to grant
the FPI preferential treatment when awarding contracts. By doing
so, they run the risk of wasting taxpayer money because they do
not necessarily receive the best bargain for the goods and
services they purchase, he explained.
The committee defeated Scott's amendment by a voice vote. After
little further debate, the committee passed the bill, also by