The Administration has no objection to those provisions of H.R. 4244
relating to the "Federal Activities Inventory Reform Act of 1998." Those
provisions would reinforce efforts to improve the identification and review
of non-inherently governmental activities. They would also permit agencies
to competitively choose the source -- public or private -- which is most
cost effective and in the best interest of the taxpayer.
The Administration, however, opposes the remainder of H.R. 4244 in its
current form. While the Administration shares the goal of ensuring the
quality and professionalism of the Government's acquisition workforce and
measuring the performance of its procurement operations, the Administration
opposes the bill because it would:
- Duplicate existing requirements for the establishment of
government-wide procurement system standards already contained in the
Office of Federal Procurement Policy Act and impose burdensome reporting
requirements on Federal agencies.
- Impose rigid and inflexible personnel, training, and associated
budgetary policies upon agencies that would detract from, rather than
enhance, their ability to manage and train their acquisition workforce.
- Assign to an office in the Executive Office of the President (the
Office of Federal Procurement Policy) an operational role in the funding
and direction of the activities of a Federal agency, the Federal
Acquisition Institute. This is not an appropriate role for an office
whose primary mission is to develop and oversee broad procurement
The Administration also opposes the provision of H.R. 4244 that would
exempt experience-rated contracts awarded under the Federal Employees
Health Benefits Program (FEHBP) from the Cost Accounting Standards (CAS).
The standards, which are applied to all contractors performing under
cost-based pricing arrangements with the Federal Government, ensure that
costs are properly measured, assigned, and allocated. In establishing the
CAS Board, Congress provided for a formal waiver process for exempting
those government contractors whose circumstances are so unique as to make
the application of CAS inappropriate.