Last week, U.S. Rep. Greg Steube, R-Fla., brought out a proposal “to increase opportunities for private businesses to provide goods and services to the federal government without the threat of unfair competition from a government agency.”
Steube introduced the “Freedom From Government Competition Act” on Thursday and weighed in on why he was championing it.
“Reports show that approximately 1.2 million federal government employees are in positions that are commercial in nature,” said Steube. “At a time when our annual deficit is nearly $800 billion and our national debt is over $23 trillion, we simply cannot afford to prolong an inefficient bureaucracy and have the government providing goods and services better left to private businesses.”
“This bill would codify an official federal government policy that the government should not compete with its citizens, but instead rely on the private sector for commercially available goods and services. It also requires all federal agencies review all commercial activities to assure performance is providing the best value to the taxpayer and to implement an appropriation action or reform, regardless of whether the activity stays in-house or is transitioned to the private sector,” the congressman’s office noted.
“The bill does not mandate privatization, but rather encourages a system where private businesses could compete alongside the federal government for the opportunity to perform certain functions, potentially at a lower cost to the taxpayer,” Steube’s office continued.
U.S. Sen. John Thune, R-SD, introduced the bill in the upper chamber with his office insisting it “would make the federal government smaller and more efficient while providing the best value to the taxpayer.”
“The bill has been likened to codifying a ‘Yellow Pages’ test, meaning that if the federal government is doing something that can be found in the Yellow Pages, or now in a simple online search, the product or service should be subject to market competition,” Thune’s office insisted.
Thune weighed in on the bill last week.
“This bill is a commonsense approach in allowing small businesses to compete with the federal government if they can provide that same good or service,” said Thune. “These businesses can oftentimes provide services in a cheaper, more efficient manner. Fair competition will allow businesses to thrive and save taxpayers money.”
So far, Steube has not been able to reel in any other cosponsors in the House. His bill was sent to the U.S. House Oversight and Reform Committee. Thune also does not have any cosponsors so far. His bill was sent to the U.S. Senate Committee Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.
Reach Kevin Derby at firstname.lastname@example.org.