Contracting groups to White House: Enough with the directives

President Barack Obama signs an executive order in 2009. Four contracting associations have asked for a break from procurement-related executive orders from the Obama administration. (Wikimedia Commons)

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Several prominent contracting associations around Washington wrote to the White House last week asking the administration to refrain from issuing any procurement-related presidential directives for a while.

The letter — signed by the heads of the Professional Services Council, the Information Technology Industry Council, the National Defense Industrial Association and the Aerospace Industries Association — claims that the 12 executive orders President Barack Obama has signed since 2009 related to contracting and the 16 resulting new regulations has significantly increased the cost for vendors to serve government.

“At a time when government budgets are under siege, cost efficiency is essential, and there is a broad agreement about the need for the government to open its aperture to enable access to the full marketplace of capabilities, this rapid growth in compliance requirements is becoming untenable,” the letter states. “Worse, while well intentioned, some of the EOs have required substantial investments in time and systems even though their actual impact is exceedingly minimal. As such, some estimate that nearly thirty cents of every contract dollar goes toward compliance with unique government regulations.”

The four associations addressed the letter to Denis McDonough, the White House chief of staff, and Valerie Jarrett, a senior adviser to President Barack Obama, asking “that no further presidential directives primarily focused on government contractors be issued for the foreseeable future.”

The co-signing organizations say that the orders have good intentions but end up costing taxpayers more and in many case hinder the competitive procurement environment and innovation they’re meant to bolster.

“As efforts continue across the administration, and within our member companies, to expand the broad diversity of firms willing and able to support the government and to bring real innovation to bear for our nation, these unique and costly government-unique regulations simply raise an already substantial barrier between the commercial and government marketplaces,” the letter says.

The Professional Service Council wrote in a blog post related to the letter that the four associations anticipate at least one more contracting directive in the remainder of the year and likely more before the end of the current administration in early 2017.

The White House could not be reached for comment prior to publication.

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Government IT News, Procurement, White House
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