WASHINGTON—The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) thanks Reps. Rob Andrews (D-N.J.) and Walter Jones (R-N.C.) for their successful bipartisan amendment to the Science-State-Justice-Commerce Appropriations Bill to suspend the use of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-76 privatization process in agencies funded under the bill until federal employees have the same right to appeal agencies’ contracting out decisions as contractors have long enjoyed.
Agencies funded by this bill include the departments of State, Justice, and Commerce. Additional agencies that would be covered include the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Small Business Administration, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
AFGE also thanks Reps. Frank Wolf (R-Va.) and Alan Mollohan (D-W.Va.), the chair and ranking member, respectively, of the subcommittee for agreeing to accept the equitable appeal right amendment in the face of strong but predictable contractor opposition.
“The bipartisan Andrews-Jones Amendment would give conferees an opportunity to provide federal employees in agencies funded by this bill with the same right that contractors have long enjoyed to have flawed and biased contracting out decisions reviewed by independent third-parties such as the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and the Court of Federal Claims,” said AFGE National President John Gage.
AFGE appreciates the support Republican and Democratic lawmakers have provided for previous efforts to ensure that both sides in the contracting out process have the same appeal right.
In the FY04 Transportation-Treasury Appropriations Conference report, the conferees agreed to provide federal employees in all agencies with the same right to appeal to GAO that had long been enjoyed by contractors. In fact, the decision was so final that their agreement was discussed in an article in The Washington Post--only for OMB’s opposition to force the conferees to drop the provision several days later.
The House and Senate FY05 and FY06 Defense Authorization bills included provisions--in both chambers' bills and in both years--that would have given federal employees the same appeal right already enjoyed by contractors.
However, OMB opposition blocked all of these bipartisan efforts.