House defeats GOP federal job privatizing plan

WASHINGTON—By a bipartisan 253-172 vote, the GOP-run House rejected a Republican attempt to continue privatizing tens of thousands of federal jobs.

If the plan, included in an omnibus money bill to keep the government going – a long-range measure that now will come up after Oct. 1 – had won, workers ranging from janitors on up would be jeopardized, said their largest union, the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE).

Bur Rep. Matt Cartwright, D-Pa., convinced his colleagues to knock it out.

The privatization plan is in a government directive, unveiled under prior GOP administrations years ago, called A-76, a memo from the Office of Management and Budget. Congress shelved A-76 during the Democratic Obama administration.

“We support the Cartwright amendment, because it would extend the government-wide A-76 moratorium and prevent outsourcing of our jobs in the federal government,” AFGE said.

“Call your lawmakers at (202) 224-3121 to tell them to vote YES on the Cartwright amend-ment.” Cartwright banned the government from spending any money to implement A-76.

The A-76 memo ordered agencies to “begin, continue, complete, process, or approve a public-private competition to determine whether federal civilian jobs should be outsourced.”

Many of the endangered workers are Defense Department civilian workers.

Women, minorities or both often hold those endangered jobs now, and the past OMB orders to agencies left the way open for private companies to grab the jobs – and throw out the workers — by low-balling salaries, cutting out health benefits and otherwise harming them.

The Defense Department’s own inspector general, and non-partisan federal auditors both reported the A-76 privatization process “could not demonstrate any savings to the taxpayer. That is why A-76 studies have been subject to a congressional moratorium since 2010,” Cartwright told his colleagues. Cartwright, again citing the IG’s report, said DOD “simply fails to keep track of costs and savings” of outsourcing and privatizing the jobs.

“It has no anchor, and it incorporates an arbitrary 12 percent overhead cost for federal employees as opposed to contractors. The IG concluded ‘multimillion-dollar decisions are based, in part, on a factor not supported by data…Decisions involving taxpayer money should never be based on such a faulty process, especially when American jobs are at risk.”

Cartwright called the 12 percent overhead penalty against current workers “pseudocalculation.”

Rep. Ken Calvert, R-Calif., trying to shepherd the defense section of the money bill through the House, retorted that just the threat of the competitions from the private sector produced savings of 10 percent-40 percent, but he did not say how. He also said Cartwright “would preserve the status quo” among defense civilian workers, whom AFGE and other unions represent. Calvert implied preserving their jobs is negative.

Source: PAI