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, 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 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.
“If a local small business can provide the same type of good or service that’s being provided by the federal government and they can do it cheaper and more efficiently, why wouldn’t we allow them to compete for those services?” said Thune. “By preventing fair competition, we’re hamstringing private industries and giving a boost to federal agencies that have essentially closed the door to a large portion of the market for certain services. Not only could this bill save hard-working taxpayers money, but it could also give the economy a necessary shot in the arm. I hope we can move this common-sense legislation as soon as possible.”
Thune’s legislation 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. John J. “Jimmy” Duncan (R-Tenn.) is sponsoring the companion bill, which was also reintroduced today, in the U.S. House of Representatives.