Identify ways the House and Senate can streamline purchases and save taxpayer dollars.
A common theme heard from witnesses and Committee Members alike was the need for the House to consolidate purchases for individual Member offices. Committee Members heard testimony on practices of the Senate to efficiently manage offices’ administrative functions, as well as the challenges of Congress’ decentralized structure creates increased administrative costs. As Chair Kilmer noted in the November 15, 2019 hearing:
Image 7.3: Chair Derek Kilmer listening to witness testimony.
“Concepts like bulk purchasing and competitive procurement are hardly cutting edge. Our counterparts in the executive branch and the private sector have figured out that purchasing a thousand computers yields a better price than purchasing ten computers. They have also figured out that centralizing commonly used services often makes good financial sense. Yet here in the House, Members and staff are too often relying on outdated, inefficient processes and systems to do their jobs. And that shouldn't be the case.”
Rep. Derek Kilmer, November 15, 2019
Thus, the Committee recommended the House Chief Administrative Officer (CAO), the Senate Rules Committee, and the Senate Sergeant at Arms explore how the House and Senate can collaborate on procurement and bulk purchasing to save money for the American people. This recommendation was successfully passed by the House and later adopted into the FY 2021 Legislative Branch Appropriations Bill.