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:

  • Sponsored by Brocade

    Best of 2016 Federal Forum eBook

    Earlier this summer, Federal and tech industry leaders convened to talk security, machine learning, network modernization, DevOps, and much more at the 2016 Federal Forum. This eBook includes a useful summary highlighting the best content shared at the 2016 Federal Forum to help agencies modernize their network infrastructure.

  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    GBC Flash Poll Series: Merger & Acquisitions

    Download this GBC Flash Poll to learn more about federal perspectives on the impact of industry consolidation.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    A DevOps Roadmap for the Federal Government

    This GBC Report discusses how DevOps is steadily gaining traction among some of government's leading IT developers and agencies.

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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.

  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    Joint Enterprise Licensing Agreements

    Read this eBook to learn how defense agencies can achieve savings and efficiencies with an Enterprise Software Agreement.

  • Sponsored by Cloudera

    Government Forum Content Library

    Get all the essential resources needed for effective technology strategies in the federal landscape.


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