WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship CommitteeRanking Member Olympia J. Snowe (R-ME) today hailed the panel’s unanimous passage of the Small Business Contracting Revitalization Act of 2007 (S. 2300). Senator Snowe worked with Chairman John F. Kerry (D-MA) to draft this vital legislation that would address the numerous barriers small businesses face in securing their fair share of Federal contracting dollars.
“The Federal government is not aggressive enough in fulfilling its statutory small business contracting goaling requirements and in assisting small businesses to access Federal contracting dollars,” said Senator Snowe. “Currently, small businesses are eligible for $340 billion in Federal contracting dollars, yet they receive only $77 billion. The legislation the Committee approved today will help ensure that small businesses no longer miss out on billions of dollars in contracting opportunities by taking steps to provide the Federal government with additional tools it needs to consistently meet and exceed its small business contracting goals. I look forward to the enactment of this bipartisan small business contracting legislation.”
Based on provisions in the Small Business Reauthorization and Improvements Act of 2006 (S. 3778), which then-Chair Snowe and Ranking Member Kerry steered through Committee in 2006, theSmall Business Contracting Revitalization Act would seek to improve the effectiveness and utilization of all the small business contracting programs, including the Historically Underutilized Business Zone (HUBZone), small disadvantaged business, women-owned small business, and service-disabled veteran-owned small business programs. More specifically, the bill includes the following critical provisions:
- HUBZone Program: The bill creates a mentor-protégé program for HUBZone and women-owned small businesses to enhance small enterprises’ competitiveness, financial independence, and business development. The legislation also develops a 3 percent subcontracting goal for HUBZones to enable small businesses in affected areas to a dedicated percentage of contracting dollars -- the HUBZone program is currently the only small business “goaling” program without a subcontracting goal. Finally, the bill establishes a temporary HUBZone for BRAC communities, enabling affected areas to respond to base closures through targeted business incentives.
- Contract Bundling: This provision would seek to promote small business’ access to contracts by reducing contract bundling. In addition to requesting an annual report on all incidents of bundling, the bill would require the head of each Federal agency to submit an annual report addressing all incidents of bundling.
- Subcontracting Integrity: In order to address issues related to Federal prime contractors’ compliance with small business subcontracting plans, the bill directs the head of each Federal agency to issue a policy on small business subcontracting compliance. This provision also requires each Federal agency with contracting authority to ensure that the terms of each contract include language allowing the contracting officer to withhold an appropriate amount of payment until they have received a complete, accurate, and timely subcontracting report.
- Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business Program: The bill would establish a mentor-protégé program to enhance the business competitiveness, financial independence, and business development of small business protégé firms.
- Women-Owned Small Business Program: It has been nearly 7 years since the enactment of the women’s set-aside contracting program and the program has yet to be implemented. Accordingly, the bill establishes a 90-day deadline, from the enactment of this bill, for SBA to implement the women’s contracting set-aside program.
- Small Business Size and Status Integrity: Over the past several years, there have been several reports, as well as congressional testimony from the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the SBA Inspector General, and the SBA Office of Advocacy, highlighting the fact that large businesses often deliberately seek and receive contracts intended for small businesses. As a result, the bill would provide the SBA the same protest authority currently available to the GAO, enabling the SBA to impose a presumption of loss of eligibility for small business contracts when a contractor misrepresents its small business size or status.
“I am particularly pleased that the legislation we approved today includes provisions I authored to enhance the HUBZone program,” said Senator Snowe. “In my home state of Maine, only 120 of 41,026 small businesses are qualified HUBZone businesses. HUBZones represent a tremendous tool for replacing lost jobs in our nation’s declining manufacturing and industrial sectors. Clearly, this program should be better utilized and expanded.”