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Senators Lankford, Peters, & Paul Introduce Bill to Save Taxpayer Dollars on Equipment Acquisition

WASHINGTON, DC –Senators James Lankford (R-OK), Gary Peters (D-MI), and Rand Paul (R-KY) introduced bipartisan legislation to help save taxpayer dollars on equipment used for activities including mining, agricultural production, construction, highway maintenance, and medical research. 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 Government Accountability Office (GAO) estimates that federal agencies spend more than $200 billion every year to lease or purchase equipment, and the 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 Senators are members of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. 

“As our nation’s debt continues to rise, Congress and federal agencies should be looking for practical ways to save taxpayer dollars and achieve operational efficiencies,” said Senator Lankford. “This bill will ensure that equipment acquired by the government is done so by the most advantageous method.” 

“Short-term rentals can offer an affordable alternative to purchasing industrial equipment that might only be used a handful of times,” said Senator Peters. “Instead of sinking taxpayer money into buying, maintaining and storing heavy equipment, federal agencies should consider other acquisition methods like renting to cut down on wasteful government spending and save taxpayers’ hard-earned dollars.”

“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 Senator Paul.

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