The U.S. House of Representatives this week approved H.R. 2066, the “General Service Administration Modernization Act” – the biggest GSA reform effort in more than 20 years that is expected to transform the way the federal government buys goods and services.
H.R. 2066, introduced by House Government Reform Committee Chairman Chairman Tom Davis (R-Va.) and House Armed Services Committee Chairman Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), amends the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act to create a new federal acquisition service, which combines the existing federal supply service, the current purchaser of goods and services for the federal government, and federal technology service, the current supplier of information technology to federal agencies. The federal acquisition service will be supported by a newly created acquisition services fund consisting of the assets of the old information technology and supply funds.
“This legislation offers fundamental organizational change within GSA by removing the old structures that inhibit efficient federal purchases. We can help bring GSA in line with the current commercial market that has evolved from stand-alone hardware or services to solutions that are a mix of products, services and technology,” said Davis.
“Two separate buying organizations operating out of two different funds has become a barrier to coordinated acquisition of management services and the technology needed to support a total solution,” added Davis. “The federal marketplace should reflect the best of the commercial marketplace: both in the products and services we buy and the way we buy them.”
The legislation would also authorize the GSA administrator to appoint up to five “regional executives” for the federal acquisition service to facilitate closer oversight and more management control over acquisition-related activities in GSA’s regions. Recently, the existing GSA regions were the subject of inspector general reports that revealed evidence of acquisition mismanagement.
In addition, the legislation would establish retention bonuses and reemployment relief aimed at maintaining the strength and experience of the federal government’s civilian acquisition workforce. More specifically, the section would provide that an individual receiving a Civil Service Annuity who becomes reemployed in an acquisition-related position would not have his or her annuity discontinued.