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Agencies Bend on Small Biz Offices?

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A House subcommittee hearing scheduled for Tuesday with a hot seat ready for four agency officials dealing with small-business set-asides was postponed indefinitely.

The reason, according to Small Business Subcommittee on Contracting and Workforce spokesman Darrell Jordan, is that the Agriculture, Justice and State departments are throwing in the towel in a dispute over whether their Offices of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization should report directly to the agency chief or deputy.

Direct reporting has been pushed both by subcommittee Chairman Mick Mulvaney, R-S.C., and by Small Business Administration chief Karen Mills. The three agencies, plus the Treasury Department (which is still negotiating), had differing interpretations of the Small Business Act's requirements. Also, they had been subpoenaed.

Charlie Clark joined Government Executive in the fall of 2009. He has been on staff at The Washington Post, Congressional Quarterly, National Journal, Time-Life Books, Tax Analysts, the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges, and the National Center on Education and the Economy. He has written or edited online news, daily news stories, long features, wire copy, magazines, books and organizational media strategies.

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