WASHINGTON – United States Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship Chair Mary Landrieu, D-La., today sent a letter to all Federal agencies calling on them to begin implementing the contracting parity provisions included in the Small Business Jobs Act that President Obama signed into law last month.  These provisions put the small business government contracting programs – Historically Underutilized Business Zone (HUBZone), 8(a), Women-Owned small business (WOSB) and Service Disabled Veteran-owned small businesses (SDVOSB)– on an equal playing field when competing for government work.

“Existing statute allows contracting officers’ discretion when choosing to award a federal contract to a small business participating in these programs,” Senator Landrieu said in the letter.  “However, misinterpretation of Congressional intent by the courts as well as recent decisions by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) have forced contracting officers to give priority to small businesses participating in the HUBZone program when awarding Federal contracts. These decisions have had a negative and detrimental effect on the ability of small businesses participating in other contracting programs to effectively compete for and win federal contracts.

“To ensure that all small businesses—regardless of the particular category they are participating in—receive a fair shot at winning federal contracts, it is important that Federal agencies closely follow and enforce SBA’s parity policy and regulations.”

Senators Landrieu and Richard Durbin, D-Ill., introduced S. 3190, the Small Business Programs Parity Act of 2010 in March of 2010 after a court decision stated that small businesses that belong to the HUBZone program had preference over firms participating in other small business contracting programs.  The Act was included in the Small Business Jobs Creation Act in July of 2010.

To read Senator Landrieu’s letter, please click here