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.
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.