Senator: Contracting provisions will be passed in next jobs bill

A bill to make it easier for small businesses to win federal contracts on Thursday cleared the Senate committee where similar provisions have stalled, and the panel's leader said she is confident the legislation will become law.

The Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee unanimously passed the Small Business Contracting Revitalization Act (S. 2989). The measure aims to address four key areas: contract bundling, subcontracting, acquisition, and small business size and status integrity. Among its provisions is a requirement that acquisition officials review contracts worth more than $2 million to see if they could be broken into pieces more accessible to small businesses.

The bill also would increase oversight of prime contractors that team with small businesses. Reacting to testimony from small business owners who told the committee they were disproportionately affected by late payments, the lawmakers included a provision designed to ensure prime contractors compensate small business subcontractors promptly. Another provision would aim to assist small businesses partnering in an effort to win large contracts.

"Granting small businesses government contracts is one of the easiest, most inexpensive and most immediate ways we can help increase sales for small businesses and boost job creation on Main Street," said Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., chairwoman of the committee. "When large businesses get government contracts they can potentially absorb that new work into their workforce. When small businesses get government work they must staff up to meet the increased demand -- and that is exactly what we need to put Americans back to work."

Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, called the legislation "long overdue" and said it will go a long way toward ensuring agencies meet the statutory goal of awarding 23 percent of contract dollars to small firms.

"We're relying on small business to lead us out of this economic downturn, and it's all the more important we do everything we can to give them the resources and the tools," Snowe said. "Opening up federal contracting opportunities is clearly paramount among them. There are an infinite number of opportunities for small business, but we know there have been an exceptional number of barriers… that have denied small businesses those opportunities."

This is not the first time the committee has tried to tackle the problem of contract bundling, but Landrieu said there are several differences between this attempt and past efforts.

"First of all, this one is going to pass," Landrieu said. "And it's going to pass with strong bipartisan support."

Landrieu noted the committee unanimously approved all five bills that it has marked up this Congress. Senate leaders are likely to accept the committee's entire legislative package in the next jobs bill given the strong bipartisan support, she said.

"I'm really proud, in a sea of too much partisan work, this committee is doing its work for small business in America without regard to party lines," Landrieu said.

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

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

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

    Download
  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

    Download
  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

    Download
  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

    Download

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