(WASHINGTON)—After working closely to ensure passage of an amendment that would require the Department of Defense to insource certain jobs that were contracted out and establish new guidelines for future competitions, the American Federation of Government Employees today thanked Sens. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) and Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) for introducing the amendment, and applauded the Senate for attaching it to the Senate Defense Authorization Bill (S.1547), which passed Monday evening.
The Kennedy-Mikulski Amendment, which passed yesterday by a vote of 51-44, would, among other things, require DoD to develop guidance to insource jobs that are “inherently governmental” and thus were wrongly contracted out, jobs in which contractors are performing poorly, and jobs that were not subject to a proper privatization competition.
In addition to Kennedy and Mikulski, AFGE also thanked Sens. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.), Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Benjamin Cardin (D-Md.), Carl Levin (D-Mich.), and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) for their dedication to the issue.
The Kennedy-Mikulski Amendment specifically would:
- ensure that contractors don’t get an unfair advantage in the contracting out cost comparison process by providing inadequate health care and retirement benefits, but without requiring that contractors provide the same benefits;
- eliminate the automatic re-competition requirement that falls exclusively on civilian employees, so that contracting officers can use their own discretion about whether to re-compete civilian employees—which is what contracting officers already do in deciding whether to re-compete contractors;
- require DoD to implement guidance to ensure civilian employees are given opportunities to perform new and outsourced work;
- prevent Office of Management and Budget (OMB) political appointees from telling career managers in the Department of Defense (DoD) how many employees and which employees to review for privatization, and when to do so;
- ensure that federal employees have the same appeal rights long enjoyed by contractors to have agencies’ botched and biased contracting out decisions reviewed by independent third-parties; and
- put into permanent law language already in appropriations law that ensures non-DoD agencies conduct public-private competitions before giving work performed by federal employees to contractors.