Senator John Thune (R-S.D.), Chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, today re-introduced legislation that would require federal agencies to rely on the private sector when providing goods and services that are readily available. Thune’s legislation, the Freedom from Government Competition Act (S. 523), would ensure private enterprises performing activities duplicated by the government have the opportunity to compete for work that federal agencies unnecessarily handle in-house.
Thune's legislation would codify the "Yellow Pages" test, which says that if the federal government is doing something that can be found in the Yellow Pages, the product or service should be subject to market competition to ensure better value for the taxpayer.
“It is time for Congress to stop pitting the resources of the federal government against privately owned businesses, and start looking for ways stimulate job growth in the private sector while reducing federal spending and the size and scope of government,” said Thune. “The federal government provides many services that are already found in the private economy. My bill gives private businesses in South Dakota and elsewhere equal footing to compete for government business while keeping jobs and revenue in local communities.”Thune's legislation does not mandate the privatization of any specific federal service and would protect those activities which are inherently governmental, such as certain national defense and homeland security functions, prosecutions, foreign policy and activities to bind the United States to take or not to take some action by contract, policy, regulation, authorization, or order.
Cosponsors of Thune's bill include Senators John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), and Pat Roberts (R-Kan.).