How many contractor employees does the federal government rely on, at what cost per person, and how does that compare with the cost of assigning the same task to a full-time hire?
When asked by Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., ranking member of the House Budget Committee, the Congressional Budget Office took a shot but left the $64,000 question unresolved.
“Regrettably, CBO is unaware of any comprehensive information about the size of the federal government’s contracted workforce,” the nonpartisan analysts wrote in response. “However, using a database of federal contracts, CBO determined that federal agencies spent over $500 billion for contracted products and services in 2012.”
Spending on contracting grew between 2000 and 2012 more quickly than inflation and as a percentage of total federal spending, the response said. The fastest-growing category in dollars was contracts for professional, administrative and management services, CBO wrote—the top-expanding category being medical services.
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