Comments on H.R. 4333

B-197146: Published: Oct 27, 1981. Publicly Released: Oct 27, 1981.

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Legislation has been proposed which would amend the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act to authorize Federal agencies to contract for certain debt collection services. The bill was introduced because the legal basis for a recent amendment to the Claims Collection Act was questioned. GAO does not share these reservations and thus does not believe that enactment of this bill is necessary. However, GAO suggests certain changes in the bill in the event that it is given favorable consideration. In view of the subject matter of the legislation, GAO believes that it should amend the Federal Claims Collection Act rather than the Federal Property Act. Furthermore, any implementing regulations should be prescribed jointly by the Attorney General and the Comptroller General, rather than the Director of the Office of Management and Budget. The legislation should not require that any contract automatically subject the contractor to the Privacy Act because the Act possibly would not apply to some of the contracts covered by the proposed legislation. Alternatively, GAO suggests that the bill provide for making contractors subject to the Act when applicable. GAO considers the provisions of the bill relating to competitive bidding unnecessary. Finally, GAO sees no basis for the provisions that delay the effective date of the authorization for debt collection contracts.

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