Ink Still Not Dry on Printing Dispute; Administration Wants to End GPO Monopoly on jobs.(NATION)
Byline: Stephen Dinan, THE WASHINGTON TIMES
A long-standing dispute between the legislative and executive branches over the Government Printing Office is flaring up again because of the administration's proposal to allow executive agencies to contract out or do their own printing rather than go through the GPO.
Members of the congressional Joint Committee on Printing, which oversees the GPO, told Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Mitchell E. Daniels Jr. his proposal violates the law and may end up costing money rather than realizing the $50 million-a-year savings he expects.
"Absent a definitive showing this saves money or otherwise advances the national interest, this is at best counterproductive," said Rep. Steny H. Hoyer, Maryland Democrat.
The GPO acts as a central clearinghouse for all agencies' printing needs - in 85 percent of the instances contracting the printing out to qualified printers and in the other instances doing the printing itself.
But Mr. Daniels says by having a monopoly on printing, GPO has become too expensive and its quality has slipped. Under Mr. Daniels' proposal, executive agencies would be allowed to print their unclassified documents in-house or contract out the printing themselves, rather than go through the GPO.
"The evidence is 100 percent clear that the taxpayer would get a break if more players were allowed to operate," Mr. Daniels said.
This struggle between the legislative and executive branches over the GPO goes back at least as far as the Reagan administration, which proposed decentralizing printing. The Clinton administration also made the same proposal in 1994.
Mr. Daniels said the current disagreement isn't a power struggle. …