DATE: May 6, 2002

SUBJECT: Office of Management and Budget; Competition in Contracting and Contract Bundling

SOURCE: Federal Register, May 6, 2002, Vol. 67, No. 87, page 30403

AGENCIES: Office of Management and Budget (OMB)

ACTION: Notice of Public Meeting and Request for Comments

SYNOPSIS: OMB is inviting interested parties from both the public and private sector, and especially from small businesses, to provide comments on the positive and negative effects of agency competition practices from the 1990s to the present, and the impact of contract bundling. Interested parties may offer oral and/or written comments at a public meeting to be held on June 14, 2002.

DATES: The public meeting will be held on June 14, 2002, from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Eastern time. Parties wishing to make formal oral presentations at the public meeting must contact Barbara Diering, Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP) by June 3, 2002. Time allocations for oral presentations will depend on the number of individuals who desire to make presentations. Parties wishing to provide written statements at the public meeting must submit such statements to OFPP by June 7, 2002.

Instead of, or in addition to, participating in the public meeting, interested parties may submit comments to OFPP no later than July 1, 2002.

ADDRESSES: The public meeting will be held at the General Services Administration (GSA) auditorium, 18th and F Streets NW, Washington, DC 20405.

Interested parties may send comments by e-mail to: bdiering@omb.eop.gov; by fax to 202-395-5105 (cite "Competition in Contracting Review" as the subject). Since hard copy mail is not being accepted on a regular basis (due to security reasons), parties that cannot submit comments using either e-mail or facsimile should contact Barbara Diering.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For clarification of subject matter related to the review of competition practices, contact Mathew Blum, OFPP, 202-395-4953.

For clarification of subject matter related to contract bundling and small business issues, contact Michael Gerich, OFPP, 202-395-6811.

For public meeting information and submission of comments to OFPP, contact Barbara Diering, OFPP, 202-395-3256.

The TTY number for further information is 1-800-877-8339.

SUPPLEMENTAL INFORMATION: In 1984, Section 2701 of the Competition in Contracting Act (CICA) (Public Law 98-369) established "full and open competition" as the standard in federal contracting. CICA was enacted because of Congressional concern that competition had become the exception, rather than the rule, in acquiring federal goods and services. However, CICA's "full and open competition" standard has been criticized as unduly burdensome and complex. A series of legislative, regulatory, and policy reforms took place in the mid-1990s, starting with the Federal Acquisition Streamlining Act of 1994 (FASA)(Public Law 103-355), which streamlined and simplified the competition and contracting processes. These changes include:

Nevertheless, an increasing number of recent reports addressing streamlined acquisition processes and competition practices, including studies by the General Accounting Office (GAO) and agency inspectors general, question whether agencies are taking advantage of the full range of marketplace capabilities in their competitions. In addition, concerns have been voiced that other acquisition practices are also limiting opportunities for contractors, especially small businesses, particularly that agencies are unnecessarily bundling contracts, thus creating an environment that makes it difficult for small businesses to flourish.

Because President Bush is committed to making sure that agencies take full advantage of competition in contracting, especially the services of small business contractors, OMB has been instructed to review competition practices at agencies with significant procurement activities and to develop a strategy to address contract bundling. Therefore, OMB is seeking public comments from all interested parties, especially small businesses, on the following topics:

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Panoptic Enterprises at 703-451-5953 or by e-mail to Panoptic@FedGovContracts.com.

Copyright 2002 by Panoptic Enterprises. All Rights Reserved.

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