Washington, D.C.—Fair competition between companies that provide similar goods and services through lower prices and superior products is the cornerstone of the U.S. economy.
Unfortunately, many businesses face unfair competition from an unlikely source: the federal government.
When American consumers need to find a product or service, they turn to an array of businesses that offer solutions. Unfortunately, increasingly more federal agencies are duplicating goods and services that are readily available in the private sector. This serves to unnecessarily increase the size of the federal workforce and directly compete with main street businesses.
Bus and motorcoach companies know all too well the pain of competing with a subsidized entity—public transit, a business that receives generous federal (and often state and local) subsidies.
Only recently, a bus and motorcoach company in Maine lost a contract when a public transit agency, using generous public subsidies, acquired a contract for scheduled route service to and from a university their company had served for a number of years.
Enter H. R. 5329, the Freedom from Government Competition Act of 2019.
If signed into law, the Act would require the federal government to procure from the private sector the goods and services necessary for the operations and management of certain government agencies.
The bill goes on to state that “Congress makes the following findings:”
(1) Private sector business concerns, which are free to respond to the private or public demands of the marketplace, constitute the strength of the United States economic system.
(2) Competitive private enterprises are the most productive, efficient and effective sources of goods and services.
(3) Unfair government competition with the private sector of the economy is detrimental to the United States economic system.
(4) Unfair government competition with the private sector of the economy is at an unacceptably high level, both in scope and in dollar volume.
(5) Current law and policy have failed to address adequately the problem of unfair government competition with the private sector of the economy.
(6) It is in the public interest that the federal government establish a consistent policy to rely on the private sector of the economy to provide goods and services necessary for or beneficial to the operation and management of federal agencies and to avoid unfair government competition with the private sector of the economy.
The bill was introduced by Rep. W. Steube, a Florida member of the House of Representatives (17th District). The bill is supported by the Business Coalition for Fair Competition, of which the United Motorcoach Association is a member.
H. R. 5329, the Freedom from Government Competition Act of 2019, is currently in the House Oversight and Reform Committee.
U.S. Senator John Thune has introduced a Senate version (S. 2990).
Both bills have a long way to go, and it is important you contact your legislators and ask them to support and consider cosponsoring the bills.
Meanwhile, it is nice to at least have someone in Congress recognize the damage that can be done when government competes with the private sector, and how it would be more effective for taxpayers if the government first sought goods and services from the same business people they seek support from.
This bill receives a green light from the United Motorcoach Association.
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