WASHINGTON – Senator John Kerry (D-Massachusetts) succeeded in attaching legislation to the Homeland Security Appropriations Conference Report that will make the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) accountable to the Small Business Act for purposes of contracting with outside vendors. TSA was exempted from the Small Business Act in the aftermath of 9/11, and as a result has not been held to requirements for contracting with small businesses that apply to nearly every other Federal agency.

“By every account, TSA has abused procurement privileges granted in the aftermath of September 11th,” said Kerry, who as Ranking Member of the Small Business Committee has been an ardent supporter for small business contracting opportunities. “As a result, capable qualified small businesses are left out of the federal procurement process. When it comes to ensuring that America’s small businesses receive the opportunities they need to grow and succeed, it’s time to bring the Bush Administration in check. That starts today at TSA.”

Kerry’s legislation is scheduled to pass as part of the Homeland Security Appropriations Conference Report later this evening. The final version of the bill will be approved by both the House and the Senate Chambers today, and will be sent to the President for his signature.

As a result of Kerry’s amendment, TSA will be required to adhere to government-wide, statutory contracting goals. These goals establish that at least 23 percent of federal contracts will go to small businesses, with smaller percentages of between three and five percent directed to disadvantaged business communities, including socially and economically disadvantaged businesses, women owned businesses, and service disabled veteran owned businesses.

“Small businesses face plenty of obstacles without the federal government shutting them out of procurement opportunities,” said Kerry. “We depend on small businesses to grow our economy. The least we can do is reserve them a place at the table to compete for these contracts.”