President Barack Obama announced on March 4th that he plans to overhaul the federal contracting process. This much-needed modernization provides the federal government with a significant opportunity to generate good jobs and help rebuild the middle class.
The federal government creates millions of jobs each year through the large sums of money it spends on purchasing goods and services. Yet these jobs are often substandard. Many pay very low wages—often below the poverty level—and involve poor working conditions where labor law violations are all too common.
Reforming contracting to help create quality jobs will require the federal government to increase transparency in the procurement process, better enforce labor standards, perform rigorous responsibility screening on prospective bidders, reduce its use of outside contractors, and promote improved job standards. Each of these components is key, but this report focuses exclusively on one aspect of the agenda: how to promote higher job standards by evaluating proposals based in part on the pay and benefits that contractors provide their workers.
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