Between 2000 and 2012, spending on federal contracting grew more quickly than inflation and as a percentage of total federal spending. The fastest-growing category in dollars has been contracts for professional, administrative and management services the top expanding category being medical services.
Unfortunately, according to a March 11 letter released on the CBO website, the agency reports, â€œRegrettably, CBO is unaware of any comprehensive information about the size of federal governmentâ€™s contracted workforce.â€ 2
The CBOâ€™s efforts to deepen the analysis to help lawmakers determine whether contracting is more expensive than hiring federal employees fell short due to incomplete data. The Federal Procurement Data System-Next Generation (FPDS-NG), â€œis the only comprehensive source of information about federal spending on contracts.â€ Still, data in FPDS-NG is incomplete and â€œseveral reports have called the accuracy of this data into questionâ€. 3
The database, the CBO concluded does not by itself allow analysts to compare the cost of performing a task with contracted employees against the cost of performing the same task with federal employees.
Critics of federal contracting have long expressed skepticism that contracting is more affordable than hiring government workers. On the other hand, advocates strongly disagree and call for fair, balanced policies, and clear, understandable measurements of public-private competition.
Medici, Andy â€œCBO: No clue on the number of contractors or their pay.â€http://www.federaltimes.com/story/government/management/oversight/2015/03/12/cbo-contractors/70201390/
2 Elmendorf, Douglas W. â€œFederal Contracts and the Contracted Workforce.â€ Letter to Congressman Chris Van Hollen. 11 Mar. 2015.
3 Elmendorf, Douglas W. â€œFederal Contracts and the Contracted Workforce.â€ Letter to Congressman Chris Van Hollen. 11 Mar. 2015.