Obama has yet another new program. This one is called the ‘High Road.’ The High Road is expected to take a low road to directing government contracts to unionized companies. So far it is business as usual. The administration refuses to release details to appropriate members of Congress…and even notified Senate staffers that they had no intention of supplying details.
The senators, led by Susan Collins (R) of Maine, want to know more about the High Road contracting policy said to be forthcoming from the White House. The proposal, backed by liberal advocacy groups and organized labor, would implement in federal procurement to favor contractors that pay higher wages and provide benefits. Critics contend the administration is leveraging federal contracting for political purposes and believe the new standards would heavily favor unionized companies competing for federal contracts.
The most recent letter sent to the White House and Peter Orszag, the director of the Office of Management and Budget Director, reveals some of the problems with the way High Road is being handled, including a notice to staffers that a detailed briefing will occur only after the legislation is completed:
The limited discussion our staffs have had with the OMB on this initiative have provided virtually no detail.
Indeed, they have included an utter lack of information regarding the factors that would form the basis for contracting decisions under the “High Road” initiative, any cost/benefit analysis that would support the initiative and any measure that would mitigate the negative effects of the proposal.
Moreover, our staffs have been notified that detailed briefing will occur only after the administration has reached a decision on this proposal.
This approach is unacceptable. Significant changes to federal procurement policy, such as those under consideration by the Administration, should be taken, if at all, only after consultation with Congress and affected stakeholders.