Fair competition between companies who provide similar goods and services usually benefits consumers through lower prices and superior products. Today, many businesses face unfair competition from an unlikely source: the federal government.

When American consumers need to find a service, they turn to the Yellow Pages, or more likely today, the Internet.  However, more and more federal agencies are duplicating services that are readily available in the private sector which not only unnecessarily increases the size of the federal workforce, but directly competes with main street businesses across the country. This creates unnecessary competition for private businesses and prevents the federal government from focusing its attention on more critical functions.

I have introduced a bill, the Freedom from Government Competition Act (S. 1167), that would require the federal government to rely on the private sector when providing services that are readily available. This legislation does not mandate the privatization of any federal service, but instead codifies the “Yellow Pages” test, which says that if a federal service can also be found in the Yellow Pages, that service or product should be subject to market competition. Studies have shown that such competition could save taxpayers up to $28 billion annually.

The current economic slowdown has put increased focus on implementing government policies that facilitate private sector growth. By giving private companies a level playing field in providing services that are unnecessarily duplicated by the federal government, we can spur private job creation and protect taxpayer interests.