WASHINGTON - Seeking to make it easier for small businesses to compete for and secure federal contracts, Senator John F. Kerry yesterday re-introduced the Small Business Federal Contractors Safeguard Act, legislation designed to prevent federal agencies from bundling federal contracts, which denies billions of dollars to small businesses every year.

“As the result of a system that circumvents the most important and dynamic segment of our economy, thousands of small businesses are having difficulties securing contracts with the federal government,” said Kerry, Ranking Member of the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship.

Bundling occurs when several contracts are combined and expanded to form a larger contract. These larger contracts are subsequently awarded to just one business, resulting in minimal or no small business participation.

“Contract bundling hurts small businesses. And it will continue to take place unless we change the attitude at federal agencies and close the loopholes they use to shut small businesses out of the procurement process,” said Kerry.

The Small Business Federal Contractors Safeguard Act will strengthen and improve current laws protecting small businesses from unnecessary and unjustified contract bundling. Kerry's legislation would prevent federal agencies from circumventing statutory safeguards intended to guarantee small businesses are treated fairly. The bill would permit separate contracts to be consolidated for solely economic reasons, not for administrative expediency, as is the current practice.

Kerry originally introduced the Small Business Federal Contractors Safeguard Act in the last Congress. Today’s hearing will examine the severe problem of contract bundling and propose ways, like Kerry’s bill, to correct the problem.