What: All Issues : Labor Rights : Rights of Public Employees : HR 2642. (Fiscal 2008 Military Construction-VA appropriations) Brown of Ohio amendment that would prohibit the Department of Veterans Affairs from outsourcing the jobs of certain employees/On agreeing to the amendment
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HR 2642. (Fiscal 2008 Military Construction-VA appropriations) Brown of Ohio amendment that would prohibit the Department of Veterans Affairs from outsourcing the jobs of certain employees/On agreeing to the amendment
senate Roll Call 315     Sep 06, 2007
Y = Conservative
N = Progressive
Winning Side:
Progressive

This vote was on an amendment by Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, that would prohibit the Department of Veterans Affairs from outsourcing jobs that are performed by more than 10 employees without engaging in a public-private competition.  Holding a public-private competition – where current federal employees are compared against private sector workers as a way of testing which group is more efficient or cost-effective – prior to outsourcing a job is common practice for the vast majority of federal agencies.

The amendment was offered to the bill that funds military construction and veterans programs in fiscal 2008.

Brown said his amendment would prevent the VA from outsourcing ‘the work of its blue-collar employees, some four-fifths of whom are veterans themselves, without bothering to see if they can perform as well as their private competition.”

“This amendment, cosponsored with Senator Webb, simply reiterates the language we have adopted before that there must be a public-private competition before work is contracted out,” Brown said.
 
Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, opposed the amendment, saying it would tie the VA’s hands “in trying to make the most and the best use of taxpayer dollars.”

“We already have the capability to affirm that it is in the best interest of the VA to contract out. The VA is required to come to Congress to say it is in the interest of the VA that the contracting out be done. But to say no contracting out if there are 10 Federal employees doing a job is absolutely wrong, and it is going in the wrong direction for efficiency of our taxpayer dollars,” Hutchison said.

By a vote of 52-39, the amendment was adopted.  All Democrats present voted for the amendment.  Of Republicans present, all but nine voted against it.  The end result was that the measure went forward with language that would prohibit the VA from contracting out jobs performed by more than 10 employees, without first conducting a competitive study.

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