WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Today Senator John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) sent a letter to the head of the Small Business Administration (SBA) asking him to outline what steps the agency would take to ensure the accuracy of a new system for tracking federal subcontracting data. The accuracy of the new system has been questioned by the independent Government Accountability Office (GAO) on two separate occasions.

Earlier this month, the Administration announced the new Electronic Subcontracting Reporting System (eSRS) to report on small business subcontracts, which is based on a system that faces questions about the reliability of its data.

“If we are going to keep our commitment to America’s small businesses, we need accurate information about subcontracting. Building on a system that has been proven to be flawed just doesn’t make any sense. It’s a waste of taxpayer dollars and effort. The Administration should focus on fixing the existing problems instead of making a clearly broken system even bigger,” said Kerry, top Democrat on the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship.

In today’s letter, Kerry pointed to a letter from the GAO that questioned the accuracy of the system currently used to track prime contracts, the Federal Procurement Data System Next Generation (FPDS-NG). Just two weeks ago, Kerry sent a separate letter to the Administration outlining several key issues with the FPDS-NG, but instead of addressing his concerns, the Administration is pushing the new subcontracting data system, which relies on FPDS-NG.

“Small firms need a strong advocate who will ensure they are receiving their share of Federal prime contracts as well as subcontracts. To ensure the sustainable growth of these small businesses and to save the federal government money by increasing competition, the SBA must play a more aggressive role in its oversight of small business contracting,” Kerry said.

Kerry promised to continue his efforts to ensure small businesses receive their fair share of federal contracts. The federal government has a statutory 23-percent goal for federal prime contracts, which are contracts made directly between the federal government and a private business. Kerry has raised questions about accuracy of data collected on prime contracts and subcontracts awarded to small businesses. Last year, the Small Business Administration was found to be including large companies such as Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and others as "small businesses" for purposes of inflating the contracting data compiled by FPDS-NG.