Senate panel passes A-76 restrictions in spending bill

A Senate Appropriations Committee panel adopted an amendment today to make it more difficult to contract out perhaps thousands of government jobs.

The Transportation, Treasury and General Government Subcommittee included the language in the $90.6 billion fiscal 2005 appropriations for the Transportation and Treasury departments, the Executive Office of the President, and certain independent agencies. The full Appropriations Committee must vote on it but it has not been scheduled. The fiscal year ends Sept. 30.

Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) proposed the amendment to overturn the revised Office of Management and Budget Circular A-76, which expanded the outsourcing of government jobs, and revert back to previous less stringent rules.

Lawmakers' votes at first resulted in a tie due to the participation by Senate Appropriations Committee chairman Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), who is not a formal member of the subcommittee. After subcommittee Democrats objected to Stevens' voting, Mikulski's amendment passed. One Republican also switched his vote to support the anti-outsourcing language.

Also included in the bill was a provision to lift the ban on travel to Cuba. The Bush administration is expected to strongly object to both provisions.

The House Appropriations Committee previously approved $89.9 billion for Transportation, Treasury and independent agencies.

About the Author

Mary Mosquera is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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