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Anchorage Daily News: Lawmakers try to break gridlock on Capitol Hill

The lawmakers who plan to gather outside the Capitol are among 79 members of Congress who have signed “problem solvers” pledges to try to overcome partisan divides and cooperate for the good of the country. They include 42 Democrats, 36 Republicans and one independent.

Sen. Mark Begich, an Anchorage, Alaska, Democrat, is one of seven senators in the group. He’s lead author of a bill, which he introduced Wednesday, directing federal agencies to work together and buy in bulk instead of making separate purchases of the same goods and services.

“Bulk purchasing seems so simple and logical, but if you don’t mandate it, every agency believes that what they’re buying is unique to their agency,” Begich said. “This is about good government and saving money for taxpayers.”

Even small volume discounts could recoup billions of dollars a year from the $500 billion in goods and services purchased annually by the federal government, Begich said.