U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) today reintroduced 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. 2990), would ensure private enterprises that provide services that are replicated by the federal government have the ability to compete for the opportunity to deliver those federally provided services.
Thune’s legislation would make the federal government smaller and more efficient while providing the best value to the taxpayer. The bill has been likened to codifying a “Yellow Pages” test, meaning that if the federal government is doing something that can be found in the Yellow Pages, or now in a simple online search, the product or service should be subject to market competition.
“This bill is a commonsense approach in allowing small businesses to compete with the federal government if they can provide that same good or service,” said Thune. “These businesses can oftentimes provide services in a cheaper, more efficient manner. Fair competition will allow businesses to thrive and save taxpayers money.”
The Freedom from Government Competition Act does not mandate the privatization of any specific federal service and would protect those activities that 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.
Rep. Greg Steube (R-Fla.) is the sponsor of the companion bill, which was introduced today in the U.S. House of Representatives.