House Bill Emphasizes Small Businesses in Federal Contract Awards


A panel in the House of Representatives recently approved an umbrella bill that seeks to improve small businesses’ abilities to compete for federal contracts with larger contractors. Learn more about the bill in this week’s blog.


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House Bill Emphasized Small Businesses in Federal Contract Awards


The bill, H.R. 1481, actually combines six separate bills, and specifically seeks to address a practice known as “bundling” that tends to put small businesses at a disadvantage in the bidding process. According to Government Executive, “the package would restrict ‘bundling’ of services or goods previously provided under separate contracts to the detriment of small business and curb use of so-called reverse auctions, in which contractors bid electronically for contracts at progressively lower prices.” This freezes out smaller bidders such as small businesses.


In addition to restrictions on bundling, the bill would also require that the Small Business adminstration factor in use of subcontractors in the performance of federal agencies with regard to their awarding of contracts. In 2014, federal agencies met the goal of awarding 23% of all contracts to small businesses for the first time.


Interestingly, “The committee’s analysis of contract data from fiscal 2011-2014 showed that the number of small business contracting actions fell by almost 60 percent and the average size of a contract action increase 230 percent.”


What does this mean? House Small Business Committe Chairman Steve Chabot, R-Ohio, spoke to these numbers in a statement. From Government Executive:


“Under the [SBA’s] scorecard system, the federal government received an A grade for fiscal 2013,” Chabot said in a statement. “While an A grade and a reasonable percentage of small business prime contracting dollars would seem to indicate that a healthy percentage of dollars are being awarded to small businesses, [data] show that the use of small businesses is declining even as the percentage of dollars awarded to small businesses increases. Additionally, it is worth noting that in obtaining its A, the federal government did not meet half of its numerical goals.”


In approving an amendment requiring a GAO report, Chabot said, “Holding agencies accountable for meeting the small business goals only works if we have reliable data.”


For more federal contracting news, check out these two recent blogs.


GSA Proposes Rule Charge to Vendor’s Pricing Listings


GSA Begins Schedule Contract Consolidation



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