Senator criticizes GSA plans to cut office supply program

The chairman of the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee early this week urged the General Services Administration to hold off on eliminating part of a purchasing program that has high participation from small businesses.

In a letter Monday to GSA Administrator Lurita Doan, Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., asked the agency to postpone plans to drop office supplies from its Global Supply stock program, a one-stop source for buying everything from firefighting equipment to furniture. Nearly 80 percent of government purchases of office supplies through this program are directed to small businesses, the letter stated.

A decision to end the program would prompt agencies to buy supplies from a handful of large companies, Kerry said. He added he is concerned about the impact the decision will have on emergency readiness capabilities and the government's ability to react quickly to major disasters.

"It's unacceptable for the administration to abandon innovative and effective small businesses in favor of a handful of big businesses," Kerry said in a statement. "Before GSA eliminates these contracts, we need to know exactly what it means, economically and operationally, for the small firms that have been doing business with the federal government."

Kerry's letter also was signed by Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship ranking member Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., and Reps. Nydia Velazquez, D-N.Y., chairwoman of the House Small Business Committee, and Steve Chabot, R-Ohio, the ranking member.

The letter noted that lawmakers will ask the Government Accountability Office to review the consequences of the decision since the program creates a "vital and readily accessible resource" to agencies in times of emergency.

The lawmakers asked GSA confirm within 30 days of receiving the letter that the agency has suspended any efforts to change the stock program until the matter is reviewed by GAO.

Doan, a former small business owner who has urged GSA officials to focus on the benefits small businesses can provide to government agencies, did not respond to requests for comment.

Joe Jeu, assistant commissioner of GSA's Federal Acquisition Service Office of General Supplies and Services, said in a statement that the agency welcomes the chance to meet with lawmakers to understand and respond to any concerns.

"GSA is looking to provide best value to other federal agencies and to the taxpayer in meeting their needs for office supplies in terms of price, quality and delivery time," Jeu said. "GSA can do so by making office products that are readily available on the commercial market available through direct delivery from the vendor, a model that GSA has utilized to some extent for years."

The move will save money, and will better support the missions of federal agencies, Jeu said. Other products that GSA provides in support of national readiness and emergency response will remain available and in stock at GSA distribution centers, he said.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by Brocade

    Best of 2016 Federal Forum eBook

    Earlier this summer, Federal and tech industry leaders convened to talk security, machine learning, network modernization, DevOps, and much more at the 2016 Federal Forum. This eBook includes a useful summary highlighting the best content shared at the 2016 Federal Forum to help agencies modernize their network infrastructure.

    Download
  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    GBC Flash Poll Series: Merger & Acquisitions

    Download this GBC Flash Poll to learn more about federal perspectives on the impact of industry consolidation.

    Download
  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    A DevOps Roadmap for the Federal Government

    This GBC Report discusses how DevOps is steadily gaining traction among some of government's leading IT developers and agencies.

    Download
  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

    Download
  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    Joint Enterprise Licensing Agreements

    Read this eBook to learn how defense agencies can achieve savings and efficiencies with an Enterprise Software Agreement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Cloudera

    Government Forum Content Library

    Get all the essential resources needed for effective technology strategies in the federal landscape.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.