HR 4244 -- 08/17/98

August 17, 1998

H.R. 4244 - Federal Procurement System Performance Measurement
and Acquisition Workforce Training Act of 1998

(Horn (R) CA and four cosponsors)

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 policies.

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.