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Sens. Coburn, McCaskill Consider Dissolution of Commerce’s National Technical Information Service

Sen. Tom Coburn
Sen. Tom Coburn

The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee recently held a hearing into the financial viability and possible dissolution of the Commerce Department‘s National Technical Information Service, FCW reported Wednesday.

Mark Rockwell writes that committee ranking member Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and Financial and Contracting Oversight Subcommittee Chair Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) have raised concerns about NTIS’ possible redundancy and role in bypassing the Federal Acquisition Regulation.

During the hearing, senators questioned NTIS Director Bruce Borzino about the office’s functions, which center on information services such as the storage and sale of government reports and Web hosting and database management services for federal agencies.

The report said Coburn has countered that most agencies already offer such government reports to the public for free, and a Government Accountability Office report has indicated only 8 percent of 2.5 million reports were sold from 1995 to 2000 while costing the government $1.3 million a year on average.

McCaskill also asked Borzino about the use of public-private partnerships through NTIS to provide IT services for federal agencies, which she said are already available through the General Services Administration.

Rockwell reports that McCaskill urged Borzino to provide information on services that are exclusively available through NTIS.

According to the report, Coburn and McCaskill have previously pushed for the Let Me Google That For You Act that seeks to dissolve NTIS, which they said would generate $50 million in annual savings.

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