Congressman Sanford Bishop

Representing the 2nd District of Georgia

CONGRESSMAN BISHOP LEADS LETTER TO GSA URGING THE AGENCY TO PROTECT JOB OPPORTUNITIES FOR PEOPLE LIVING WITH DISABILITIES

May 18, 2018
Press Release
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. (GA-02) led 25 other Members of Congress in a letter to Administrator Emily Murphy of the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) urging her to take into consideration any potential negative impacts to the AbilityOne Program as GSA considers reforms to federal acquisition regulations. The AbilityOne Program supports employment opportunities for more than 45,000 Americans living with blindness or other disabilities.
 
The Members of Congress wrote in the letter:
 
We applaud GSA for highlighting the AbilityOne Program as one of the “Unique Government requirements that advance key national interests…” in its March 2018 Implementation Plan. We strongly concur with that statement and support the AbilityOne Program and the opportunities it affords people who are blind or significantly disabled to secure quality employment and enhance their opportunities for personal and economic independence.
 
They continued:
 
As GSA moves forward with the next two phases of its work to implement Sec. 846, we strongly urge the agency to fully assess any possible impacts regarding the use of commercial e-Commerce portals on the AbilityOne Program and the SKILCRAFT and AbilityOne products it currently sells to federal customers.
 
The AbilityOne Program offers employment options and a path forward to personal and economic independence for more than 45,000 Americans, including over 3,000 veterans, who live with blindness or other significant disabilities. It is the largest source of employment for people living with disabilities, and provides goods and services for the federal government at over 1,000 locations.
 
Additional background on the AbilityOne Program can be found here.
 
A scan of the letter can be found here. The full letter text can also be found below:
 
Dear Administrator Murphy:
 
We write today regarding the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA)’s work to implement Sec. 846 of the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (Procurement Through Commercial E-Commerce Portals), and the importance of protecting the Javits-Wagner-O’Day (JWOD) Act and federal agency purchasing of products through the AbilityOne Program.
 
The AbilityOne Program provides employment opportunities for over 45,000 Americans who are blind or have significant disabilities. The JWOD Act mandates that federal government entities obtain any products or services included on the AbilityOne Program Procurement List (PL) from a nonprofit agency employing persons who are blind or have other significant disabilities as long as that product or service is available within the normal period required by that government entity.  
 
We applaud GSA for highlighting the AbilityOne Program as one of the “Unique Government requirements that advance key national interests…” in its March 2018 Implementation Plan. We strongly concur with that statement and support the AbilityOne Program and the opportunities it affords people who are blind or significantly disabled to secure quality employment and enhance their opportunities for personal and economic independence.
 
As GSA moves forward with the next two phases of its work to implement Sec. 846, we strongly urge the agency to fully assess any possible impacts regarding the use of commercial e-Commerce portals on the AbilityOne Program and the SKILCRAFT and AbilityOne products it currently sells to federal customers.
 
We support the use of commercial e-Commerce portals in order to streamline federal government acquisition, and believe this can be achieved while also strengthening socioeconomic programs such as AbilityOne that support the federal marketplace.
 
The federal government can modernize its purchasing practices while still fully complying with the JWOD Act, ensuring continued employment for tens of thousands of Americans who are blind or have significant disabilities.
 
We thank you, again, for GSA’s support for the AbilityOne Program.
 
Sincerely,
 
Rep. Sanford D. Bishop, Jr.
Rep. Alma S. Adams, Ph.D.
Rep. Nanette Diaz Barragán
Rep. Susan W. Brooks
Rep. Larry Bucshon, M.D.
Rep. André Carson
Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, II
Rep. Barbara Comstock
Rep. Val Demings
Rep. Mike Doyle
Rep. Brian Higgins
Rep. Will Hurd
Rep. Henry C. “Hank” Johnson, Jr.
Rep. Luke Messer
Rep. Gwen Moore
Rep. David E. Price
Rep. Jamie Raskin
Rep. David P. Roe, M.D.
Rep. Pete Sessions
Rep. Lamar Smith
Rep. Claudia Tenney
Rep. Mike Thompson
Rep. Bennie G. Thompson
Rep. Fred Upton
Rep. Filemon Vela
Rep. David Young