New Legislation on Small Business Contracting

Rep. Chabot takes new approach to increasing small business contracting

By Jason Miller   Federal News Radio    March 20, 2015

Instead of just trying to increase the government-wide small business contracting goal, the House Small Business committee is taking a more nuanced approach.

Rep. Steve Chabot (R-Ohio), chairman of the committee, is calling for a new small business scorecard methodology that focuses not only on prime contracts, but also subcontracts and under-represented industries across the federal procurement spectrum.

Chabot details this new methodology in one of the most wide-ranging small business contracting reform bills in a long time.

Chabot brings together some of the ideas from five separate legislative initiatives in the Small Contractors Improve Competition Act (H.R. 1481).

“Small business contracting policies are intended to make sure we have a broad spectrum of small firms working with the government across industries, and when those policies are undermined, it is imperative that we find appropriate solutions,” Chabot said in a release. “These commonsense reforms move us in the right direction.”

In the past, lawmakers have tried to raise the government-wide small business goal to 25 percent from 23 percent to help bring as much as $10 billion more to small firms.

But instead of trying to force agencies into a higher goal that they likely will not meet — 2013 was the first time in nine years that the government reached the 23 percent goal — Chabot’s bill would require the Small Business Administration to increase the number of industries in which small businesses compete for contracts by identifying gaps in the base and figuring out how best to attract those firms to government procurement.

Additionally, the bill would require SBA to create a new scorecard methodology by Sept. 30, 2016, that establishes an annual goal for each agency.

Starting in fiscal 2017, the bill calls on SBA to begin using the new approach to evaluate how agencies are creating maximum opportunities for small businesses to win prime and subcontracts, and measure departments’ success in awarding contracts to small firms across all socioeconomic areas.


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