Small Business Federal Contracting in Jeopardy

December 3, 2014

pic-contractingNSBA is urging small-business owners to contact their members of Congress and ask them to enact stricter oversight and greater implementation strategies for the Federal Single Source Initiative (FSSI) in order to further improve small-business access to contracting opportunities.

FSSI is a government-wide program that allows agencies to work together to develop innovative sourcing strategies for a set of commonly acquired goods and services. Instead, as currently structured, this program greatly decreases the number of small-business contractors that can work with federal agencies, thereby reducing competition and threatening jobs.

Today, FSSI plays an integral role in the government’s efforts to reduce the cost of purchasing goods and services. While the government touts the savings achieved through FSSI and the amount of procurement dollars granted to small businesses, the program has actually made it more difficult for small firms to compete by awarding contracts to a select few while displacing the vast majority of small-business vendors. Therefore, FSSI is actually shrinking the number of small-business contractors leaving them subjected to financial distress and threatening job losses.

After lengthy bipartisan negotiations, the House is expected this week to consider the fiscal year (FY) 2015 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), to authorize funding for national defense programs. This measure is the product of two merged bills: S. 2410, drafted by the Senate Armed Services Committee; and H.R. 4435, which passed the House earlier this year and included an amendment that would require the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to issue a report on the impact FSSI has on small businesses. Among some of the key provisions of the merged bill is a one year extension of the cap on the aggregate annual amount spent on contracts for services through FY 2015. The bill would also modify and extend the test program for negotiation of comprehensive small business subcontracting plans authorized by section 402 of the Small Business Administration Reauthorization and Amendments Act of 1990.

Quantifying the impact of FSSI would allow the Government Services Administration (GSA) and other federal agencies to make informed decisions regarding how best to achieve increased purchasing efficiency and desired cost reductions associated with federal procurement, while at the same time, avoiding any unintended consequences and maximizing federal business opportunities for small businesses.

Despite the aforementioned revisions, NSBA believes that more can and should be done to ensure that FSSI does not inhibit economic growth and impede small business’s ability to prosper and create jobs.

Please take a few moments today to urge your lawmakers to support measures that ensure small businesses are treated fairly and equally when it comes to bidding on federal procurement opportunities.