Alaska native contracting bill introduced in House

One day after Sen. Claire McCaskill introduced a bill to curb contracting preferences afforded to Alaska Native Corporations, a House member followed suit.

On Thursday, Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., introduced a companion measure that would put the Alaskan firms on equal footing with other small disadvantaged businesses operating in the Small Business Administration's 8(a) Business Development Program.

Echoing concerns raised by McCaskill, Thompson said he is worried ANCs do not hire enough Native Alaskans or return sufficient benefits to local shareholders.

"This bill will help correct this situation by assuring that ANCs are not granted a privileged status that both protects them from legitimate competition from other businesses and fails to return a fair share of profits to native shareholders," Thompson said. "We cannot allow the important and necessary goals of the (8a) program to be undermined. Small, minority businesses must be given a fair opportunity to succeed, and I am hopeful that this legislation will bring us one step closer those goals."

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