Panel backs measure to curb contract bundling

In a show of strong bipartisan support, the House Small Business Committee on Tuesday quickly pushed through a bill that would make tougher the practice of "contract bundling."

The bill (H.R. 1873) reauthorizes the Small Business Administration's procurement programs under the Small Business Fairness in Contracting Act. It scales back "contract bundling" - the practice of grouping small government contracts together and awarding them as one large contract.

House Small Business Committee Chairwoman Nydia Velazquez, D-N.Y., said the bill was needed to help small businesses gain more opportunities, because the federal government has been "bundling" individual contracts into mega-contracts out of the price range for small businesses to place bids.

"While this may be more convenient for the contracting officer, barring small businesses from the marketplace reduces competition," Velazquez said.

Bill sponsor Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa, said over the last five years the federal government has increased its use of contract bundling, causing small business contracts to decline by 55 percent - even as overall government contracting has risen by 60 percent.

The bill seeks to increase small business contracts to 30 percent of federal contract dollars, up from the previous goal of 23 percent. The SBA would be required to negotiate contracting goals with government agencies each year, with the 30 percent goal being the minimum.

"Small businesses are the number one job creators in this country, and we must ensure that this engine not only remains healthy, but also has the support it needs to grow," Braley said.

The measure also enhances the appeals process for small businesses. The Office of Federal Procurement Policy within the Office of Management and Budget would arbitrate disputes between the SBA and the purchasing government agency. Businesses and trade organizations negatively impacted by government agency contracting decisions will also be allowed to appeal on behalf of small businesses.

The markup hearing began with a tribute to the late Rep. Juanita Millender-McDonald, D-Calif., a committee member who passed away April 24. "So many times we forget the great people we work with day in and day out," Velazquez said.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.