House committee rejects insourcing quotas

House Democrats support the administration's effort to bring critical skills back from contractors into government -- but only up to a point.

A provision in the fiscal 2011 defense authorization bill, approved by the House Armed Services Committee on Wednesday, would prevent the Pentagon from establishing "any arbitrary goals or targets to implement DoD's insourcing initiative." The measure, sponsored by Rep. James Langevin, D-R.I., also requires reports from both the Defense Department and the Government Accountability Office on the insourcing effort. Industry officials, who have raised concerns in recent weeks about insourcing quotas, particularly at the Air Force, applauded the measure.

"The adoption of Rep. Langevin's amendment is a step in the right direction toward establishing an accountable process for how the Defense Department implements its strategic workforce initiative," said Alan Chvotkin, executive vice president and counsel for the Professional Services Council, an industry trade group. "We are encouraged that the House Armed Services Committee appears to share our concerns about the effects of arbitrary, non-competitive insourcing of commercial functions. This prohibition should be made governmentwide."

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee was scheduled to hold a hearing Thursday afternoon to examine insourcing efforts and the administration's objective of adjusting the balance between federal employees and contractors in the overall government workforce.

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