Government Contractors Push Back on 'In-Sourcing'

Washington firm Venable LLP is leading the charge.
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Washington firm Venable LLP is leading the charge.

As the Administration moves to bring more and more tasks in-house to save money, a group of contractors is challenging that push.

The mission of the new Small Business Coalition for Fair Contracting, represented by powerhouse Washington firm Venable LLP, is "to advocate on behalf of entrepreneurial companies that are the backbone of U.S. contracting work and in turn drive so much of the American economy," according to a statement from Venable.

The effort is led by Venable partner Robert Burton, formerly the nation’s top career federal procurement official at the Office of Federal Procurement Policy.

OMB issued guidance on the matter March 31.

“Although well intentioned, the federal government’s current in-sourcing initiative threatens to take away work from hundreds of small entrepreneurs,” Burton said in the statement.

The in-sourcing will be focused at "critical" government functions, but that could end up a very broad category.

“No one wants to be associated with a ‘non-critical’ function,” Burton said. “Many federal agencies will be tempted to ‘over classify’ jobs as ‘critical.’ Those agency choices are not victimless. Small businesses are already feeling the impact of those choices.”

He said the in-sourcing initiative has already forced small contractors across the nation to dramatically reduce the scope of their operations as their contracts are cancelled and their employees are hired into government jobs.

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