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An Open Letter to the U.S. House: Apply the "Yellow Book" Test to the Federal Government

July 7, 2008

Dear Representative:

On behalf of the 362,000 members of the National Taxpayers Union, I urge you to support the Competitive Open Markets Protection (COMP) Act, introduced by Representative Tom Feeney (R-FL). Essentially, this legislation applies a "Yellow Book" test to services and products provided by federal government. If an alternative can be found in the "Yellow Book," government should make way for more effective private providers.

The COMP Act would provide a methodical process to identify and preserve those activities that are necessary for the public sector to carry out, yet spur private sector competition for those activities that are fundamentally commercial in nature.

Thanks to the Federal Activities Inventory Reform (FAIR) Act and a review conducted by the Clinton Administration, we know that the duties performed by 850,000 federal employees could be subject to the "Yellow Book" test. However, less than 10 percent of those positions have actually been reviewed for the availability of private sector counterparts. If the FAIR Act list reviews are completed (and associated changes made) within five years, annual savings could amount to between $20 billion and $28 billion. Those savings would be significant for American taxpayers.

Remember that American entrepreneurs constitute the strength of the American economic system because they are free to respond to the demands of the marketplace. They are the most productive and efficient sources of goods and services. As such, current law has failed to adequately address the problem of federal attempts to monopolize certain functions that serve citizens. It is in taxpayers' best interests that the government establishes a consistent policy to rely on the private sector (rather than a ballooning public sector) for selected programs.

This piece of legislation is an important step in making sure that government doesn't unfairly compete with businesses -- big or small. We urge you to support the Competitive Open Markets Protection Act to ensure that taxpayers receive the best value for their money.


Kristina Rasmussen
Director of Government Affairs