House Committee To Markup Contracting Bill

January 13, 2016

pic-contractingIn the first week of the New Year, members of the House Small Business Committee wasted no time by introducing several bills aimed at increasing small business participation in the federal contracting marketplace. The first among them to be considered by the committee will be the Defending American Small Contractors Act of 2016 (H.R. 4341) introduced by House Small Business Committee Chairman Steve Chabot (R-Ohio) and cosponsored by the Ranking Member Nydia Velázquez (D-N.Y.). On Jan. 13, the committee will hold a markup on the bill before the House leaves town for the remainder of the week.

The Small Business Reauthorization Act of 1997 requires that 23 percent of prime federal contracts be awarded to small businesses, however historically the federal contracting process has been difficult for small businesses to navigate, leading to disappointing participation. The bill addresses several areas of the federal contracting environment, and aims to increase opportunities for small businesses to participate.

Key provisions in the bill would:

  • Require contracting agencies explain to procurement center representatives why certain proposed procurements cannot be divided into reasonably small lots, why the agency determined that bundling of contract requirements is necessary and justified, and why the proposed procurement cannot be offered to increase the likelihood of small business participation.
  • Clarify regulatory language.
  • Allow procurement center representatives to propose alternative procurement methods to encourage small business participation.
  • Improve reporting on small business contracting goals and reduce exclusionary determinations of total contract values.
  • Create a pilot program to provide opportunities for qualified subcontractors to obtain past performance ratings.

NSBA supports reforms to the government contracting process that will allow the government to consistently hit the statutory requirement established in the Small Business Reauthorization Act of 1997. NSBA continues to advocate for small businesses to receive their fair share of federal contracting dollars and supports reasonable reforms and policies—such as H.R. 4341—that promote and facilitate small business participation in the federal marketplace. Despite years of efforts, contracts continue to inappropriately be awarded to larger firms. Regulatory reforms that allow for the more accurate accounting of government contracts awarded to small businesses and removing obstacles to government contracting will allow small businesses to consistently receive their statutory share of federal contracting funds.

NSBA urged the House Small Business Committee to approve the bill and leadership to bring it to the House floor in this letter.