WASHINGTON – United States Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship Chair Mary Landrieu, D-La., today held a roundtable focusing on ways the federal government can increase contracts awarded to small businesses by improving government contracting programs. In 2008 small businesses received $93.3 billion in federal contracts, an increase of almost $10 billion from 2007. However, these contracts made up only 21.5 percent of contracting dollars. The government’s statutory goal is to spend 23 percent of contracting dollars on small businesses.

The roundtable, “Small Business Contracting: Ensuring Opportunities for America’s Small Businesses,” discussed the challenges small businesses face in obtaining government contracts, including: contracting under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, contract bundling, size standards, and a lack of protections for sub-contractors.

“Small businesses have trouble gaining access to contracts because of a maze of complicated laws and regulations that make it difficult for them to succeed,” Senator Landrieu said. “We can do better. President Obama has pledged to help expand small business contracting by increasing public knowledge of federal contracting opportunities and I will continue to do the same. We all know that there is still much work to be done.”

“Federal contracts provide vital economic benefits for small business – yet, regrettably, the Federal government consistently fails to meet its goals for small businesses in general and service-disabled veteran-owned, women-owned, and HUBZone firms in particular,” said Ranking Member Snowe. “This is simply unacceptable, and the testimony from today’s witnesses offered specific and realistic solutions for increasing small business participation in Federal contracting and for the government to not only achieve the statutory small business goals, but to exceed them.”