Senate moves GSA reorg a big step forward

The General Services Administration's long-in-waiting reorganization is all but complete.

The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Treasury, the Judiciary, and Department of Housing and Urban Development late Friday gave final approval on language that precisely matches a House plan to overhaul the agency. The strategy creates the Federal Acquisition Service out of two GSA units'the Federal Technology and Federal Supply services. The plan also contains several other provisions lawmakers hope will improve how GSA helps agencies buy products and services.

The equivalent House Appropriations Subcommittee passed its version late Thursday night.

The approval of both plans comes on the heels of the White House nominating a new GSA administrator, Lurita Alexis Doan Thursday.

'This is a great day for GSA and for the new FAS,' said acting GSA administrator David Bibb in a statement. 'We are now positioned to begin FAS implementation and adapt to a marketplace that has grown far more complex and demanding over the decades.'

Even with Congress' apparent blessing of GSA's overhaul, one key piece to the reorganization, the so-called OneFund, still must be completed under separate legislation. The OneFund would be a merger of GSA's IT and the General Supply funds. GSA officials have said OneFund would let agencies buy technology and non-technology products and services under a single procurement.

The House Government Reform Committee approved OneFund legislation last year and plans to take it up again this spring. The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee had been waiting for President Bush to name a new GSA administrator before looking at the bill.

'My colleagues in the Senate and I are optimistic that the proposed reforms will bring about the new FAS, and I look forward to continuing to support GSA as the agency moves forward,' said Sen. Christopher Bond (R-MO), chairman of the Appropriations Subcommittee.

The new Federal Acquisition Service will be comprised of five service areas: Customer Accounts and Research, Acquisition Management, Integrated Technology Services, General Supplies and Services and Travel, Motor Vehicle and Card Services.

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