WASHINGTON D.C. – Today, Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.), Chairman of the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, urged the General Services Administration (GSA) to postpone implementing a policy that could have a detrimental impact on many small businesses and called for a Government Accountability Office (GAO) study evaluating the proposal. The GSA is preparing to drop office supplies from its Global Supply Stock Program. Currently, nearly 80 percent of government purchases of office supplies through this program are directed to small businesses.



“It’s unacceptable for the Administration to abandon innovative and effective small businesses in favor of a handful of big businesses. Before GSA eliminates these contracts, we need to know exactly what it means, economically and operationally, for the small firms that have been doing business with the federal government,” said Kerry.



Kerry sent a letter to GSA Administrator Lurita Doan with Ranking Member Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), Senator Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), and the Chair and Ranking Member of the House Small Business Committee, Nydia Velazquez (D-N.Y.) and Steve Chabot (R-Ohio), asking the agency to halt the new policy. They also announced that they will ask GAO to review the consequences of this policy change given that the continued presence of the Stock Program’s office products also creates a vital and readily accessible resource to all government agencies for their various supply needs in times of emergency.



The text of the letter is below:



July 9, 2007
Ms. Lurita Doan
GSA Administrator
U.S. General Services Administration
1800 F Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20405-0002

Dear Administrator Doan:

It has been brought to our attention that the General Services Administration (GSA) is planning to eliminate office supplies from its Global Supply Stock Program. The continued presence of the Stock Program’s office products creates a vital and readily accessible resource to all government agencies for their various supply needs. The Stock Program currently has multiple small businesses that provide office products to depots across the nation for stockpiling in the event of an emergency.

Under your proposal, office supplies would be eliminated from the Stock Program and we are concerned that these services will be allocated to a handful of larger business supply companies. At present, approximately 80 percent of the office supply procurements for the Stock Program are directed to small businesses. Therefore, any change to this program that does not fully and properly take into account the detrimental impact on small business greatly concerns us.

Before GSA moves forward, we request that you refrain from terminating the office supplies from the Stock Program until Congress has had a chance to review this matter in greater detail and consider potential detrimental economic impacts to small businesses. We are also concerned about the impact this will have on our Nation’s emergency readiness capabilities and our Country’s ability to react quickly to major disasters. Therefore, before GSA eliminates any items from the depot, we would like to fully understand the impacts of such a move.

In light of our concerns, we will soon request that the Government Accountability Office (GAO) study what impact removing office products from the Stock Program will have on the many small business suppliers that currently participate in the Stock Program and our Country’s emergency preparedness. We appreciate your confirming for us, within 30 days of receipt of this letter, that you will suspend any efforts to change the Stock Program with respect to office supplies until the matter has been independently evaluated by the nonpartisan GAO.

Thank you and we look forward to your prompt reply on this matter.

Sincerely,




John F. Kerry
Chairman
Senate Small Business Committee

Olympia J. Snowe
Ranking Member
Senate Small Business Committee

Nydia Velazquez
Chairwoman
House Small Business Committee

Steve Chabot
Ranking Member
House Small Business Committee

Johnny Isakson
U.S. Senate