Outsourcing by the federal government has soared since the introduction of the Office of Management and Budget's Circular A-76 rules, from $207 billion in 2000 to some $400 billion in 2006.
And research firm Input is predicting that federal government outsourcing will continue to grow, hitting $17.7 billion in fiscal 2011.
Yet questions about the A-76 rules continue to grow, with many experts predicting that they will be in the sights of a fresh crop of Democrats entering Congress and looking for causes with which to torment their GOP colleagues.
Some folks are faulting the rules, at least in part, for the recent high-profile scandal involving poor care for combat veterans at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
The bidding process for the contract under the A-76 rules lasted six years, with IAP Worldwide Services ultimately winning a five-year, $120 million contract to perform nearly all non-medical work at the facility, including IT services.
(It does seem to us that it's a sign of trouble when the length of the bidding process exceeds the length of the contract.)
Nearly 90 federal employees left Walter Reed during the convoluted bidding process, cutting the facilities management staff in half. At the same time, wounded soldiers from Afghanistan and Iraq began pouring into the facility. Democrats, of course, are trying their best to link such problems to A-76.
Reps. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and John Tierney (D-Mass.) wrote in a recent letter to Maj. Gen. George Weightman, the military man recently removed relieved of his command at the center
"It would be reprehensible if the deplorable conditions were caused or aggravated by an ideological commitment to privatize government services regardless of the costs to taxpayers and the consequences for wounded soldiers."