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Senators Lankford, Peters, and Paul Bill to Save Taxpayer Dollars on Equipment Acquisition Advances

WASHINGTON, DC – Senators James Lankford (R-OK), Gary Peters (D-MI), and Rand Paul’s (R-KY) bipartisan legislation to help save taxpayer money on equipment used by federal agencies for activities including mining, agricultural production, construction, and highway maintenance advanced in the Senate today. The Federal Acquisition Savings Act of 2018 would require federal agencies to consider leases or short-term rentals for heavy equipment when those options are more cost-effective than purchasing the equipment outright. The Senators are members of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, which approved the bill. The bill was introduced in July 2018.

“I’m glad to see the Federal Acquisition Savings Act passed out of committee today,” said Lankford. “Taxpayers deserve to know that when their federal government spends their money, they always consider the most efficient and advantageous method to acquire equipment.”

“Federal agencies shouldn’t waste taxpayer money on buying, maintaining and storing heavy equipment for short-term projects when cheaper rental options are available,” said Peters. “This commonsense legislation will help cut down wasteful government spending and save taxpayers’ hard-earned dollars on unnecessary purchases.”

“The federal government owes it to the American people to be responsible stewards of their money. When it must spend their funds, it should seek the most cost-effective option. Our bill better empowers federal agencies to keep this obligation to taxpayers, and it increases agencies’ accountability to the people’s representatives,” said Paul.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) estimates that federal agencies spend more than $200 billion every year to lease or purchase equipment, and current federal law does not require agencies to explicitly consider short-term rentals when determining how to acquire equipment in the most cost-effective way.

The Federal Acquisition Savings Act of 2018 would direct federal agencies to choose the method of equipment acquisition to meet an agency’s needs that is the most cost-effective for the federal government and taxpayers, whether through purchasing, renting, leasing, or obtaining equipment from another federal agency or state government that no longer needs it. The bill also requires GAO to report to Congress on how federal agencies decide to purchase, lease, or rent equipment.

Heavy equipment used by federal agencies can include scissor lifts, pallet jacks, bulldozers, backhoes, agricultural machinery, mining and forestry equipment, machine tools, dumpsters, storage trailers, and lab equipment. Some state and local governments have successfully reduced spending on equipment acquisitions by using short-term rentals. For example, the Texas Department of Transportation reported saving $10.8 million by implementing a rental program, and a study commissioned by the Mississippi Department of Transportation found the state could save as much as $13,000 a year and $180,000 in lifecycle costs for each bulldozer they rent instead of purchasing.

For a summary of the bill, click here.