Davis introduces new acquisition reform legislation

Following up on his work last year to reform the federal procurement system, Rep. Tom Davis recently introduced the Acquisition System Improvement Act.

The bill combines elements of the Services Acquisition Reform Act, which did not make it into law last year, with new contracting initiatives.

The Virginia Republican, who is the chairman of the Government Reform Committee, attached parts of SARA to the 2004 Defense Department authorization bill.

'This legislation continues my efforts to provide the federal government greater access to the commercial marketplace, and to get the right people with the right skills in place to manage the acquisition of services and technology so necessary to the government,' Davis said.

The legislation would:
  • Create an acquisition exchange program with the private sector similar to the IT exchange program that was a part of the E-Government Act of 2002.

  • Increase the use of share-in-savings contracting methods beyond IT.

  • Extend the simplified acquisition procedures for commercial items up to $5 million until January 2009.

  • Require vendors to provide redundant telecommunication services to an agency's building, such as a physically separate entry for voice and data lines so that damage to a single conduit or wireless transceiver doesn't shut down a system, and route services over physically diverse local network facilities so that the failure of a single switch, router or cable does not disrupt an agency's communication.

  • Consolidate various agency contract appeals boards into two: one for Defense agencies and one for civilian agencies at the General Services Administration.

  • Add to law the current regulatory process for a vendor to protest a contract award to the head of an agency. The provision provides a 20-day stay of the award while the protest is reviewed.

Davis said SARA has moved the federal government in the direction of using the private sector's best practices for procurement, and ASIA would add to those improvements.

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