What: All Issues : Labor Rights : Rights of Public Employees : H.R. 2989. Fiscal 2004 Transportation-Treasury Appropriations/Vote to Prevent the Implementation of Administration Plans to Privatize Fifteen Percent of the Federal Workforce. (2003 house Roll Call 487)
 Who: All Members
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H.R. 2989. Fiscal 2004 Transportation-Treasury Appropriations/Vote to Prevent the Implementation of Administration Plans to Privatize Fifteen Percent of the Federal Workforce.
house Roll Call 487     Sep 09, 2003
Progressive Position:
Yea
Progressive Result:
Win

In May 2003, the Office of Management and Budget issued a directive to federal agencies which would require all federal agencies to make fifteen percent of their jobs available for private-sector competition by the end of September. Conservatives supported the Bush Administration's efforts to privatize the federal workforce; in their view, many of the responsibilities of government could be better-performed by private firms. During debate on the 2004 Transportation and Treasury appropriations bill, Congressman Van Hollen (D-MD) proposed a measure which would effectively prevent the implementation of OMB's May 2003 privatization rule. Progressives voted in favor of Van Hollen's proposal. In their view, privatizing federal jobs could undermine the performance of government. Private firms, they argued, must turn a profit to survive and therefore have incentives to institute shortcuts at the expense of U.S. citizens. Many federal jobs, Progressives pointed out, were created in large part because the private sector was unable to adequately perform those duties (such as road-building, protecting consumers, and regulating environmental polluters). On a vote of 220-198, Van Hollen's amendment was adopted and all funding was removed from the underlying appropriations bill to implement OMB's May 2003 privatization rule. (It is important to note that roll call vote 487 differs slightly from roll call vote 486. In vote 486, Democrats attempted to prevent federal agencies from identifying federal jobs that could be privatized. In vote 487, Democrats succeeded in preventing the actual implementation of privatization plans.)

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