WASHINGTON – House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) released the following statement today regarding the announcement that the House and Senate Republican leadership, under pressure from the White House, have agreed to include a provision in the Transportation, Treasury conference report that would undo fair competition processes for federal employees and weaken federal worker protections. The following is Rep. Hoyer’s statement as prepared for delivery:
“In a dramatic, abrupt, and unexpected move, the House and Senate Republican leadership caved into pressure from the Bush administration and agreed to significantly scale back a critical provision designed to ensure that outsourcing competitions conducted by federal agencies result in real savings to taxpayers, improved government efficiency, and a fair opportunity for federal workers to compete for their jobs.
“The original provision, agreed to without objection during last week’s markup of the Transportation, Treasury conference report, would have corrected on a government-wide basis the unfair, arbitrary, and biased privatization process, put in place May 2003 by the Administration, and made competitions fair for federal workers competing to keep their jobs when they are subject to A-76 outsourcing competitions, also known as ‘competitive sourcing.’
“The scaled-back provision, developed between OMB and congressional Republicans without the input of Democrats, will apply the protections to far fewer government agencies than last week’s conference language intended.
“Instead of a uniform set of rules governing how A-76 outsourcing is to be conducted throughout the federal government, the scaled-back provision will result in a mish-mash of rules that will vary from agency to agency.
“Equally outrageous is that the new provision flouts the will of Congress. The agreement reached last week to provide Federal workers a fair opportunity to compete for their jobs while promoting efficiency and cost-savings was a bipartisan product of the Appropriations Committee conference.
“Regrettably, it has been undone through a legislative sleight of hand, orchestrated by the White House, which bypassed regular legislative procedures. It is yet another example of the corruption of the rules and the democratic processes of the House of Representatives and the Congress.”