H.R. 3071 requires a revision to the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) directing agencies to consider equipment rental in any cost effectiveness analysis performed prior to acquiring a piece of equipment. The bill also requires the Government Accountability Office to submit a report to Congress two years after enactment on agency decisions to obtain equipment by purchase, lease, or rental.
In 2012, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) reported that agencies annually spent more than $200 billion purchasing or leasing equipment. Purchasing accounted for almost all of the spending. Current rules encourage agencies to assess the cost effectiveness of purchasing equipment versus leasing, but these rules do not include a requirement to consider renting.
Renting equipment can provide a more cost effective and flexible alternative to buying or even leasing. Renting avoids the need to make an investment when the equipment may not be used often and, unlike leases, rental agreements generally cover costs such as storage, maintenance, insurance, transport, and licensing. State and local governments have effectively used the equipment rental option.