On October 7, 2011, the bipartisan House Armed Services Committee Defense Business Panel held its second roundtable meeting. The panel, led by Reps. Bill Shuster (R-PA) and Rick Larsen (D-WA), met with local officials and industry leaders in Moline, IL to discuss regulatory burdens preventing small- and medium-sized business from contracting with the Department of Defense.
The panel met in Rep. Bobby Schilling's (R-IL) district near the Rock Island Arsenal, the largest government-owned weapons manufacturing arsenal in the United States. "I have been working hard to grow promote the Rock Island Arsenal as a national treasure, and am thrilled to have the opportunity to do so before several of my HASC colleagues," said Schilling, a small business owner. "As we continue looking at ways to streamline DOD contracting and make it more effective for everyone involved, we must remain in close contact with fellow business owners who have experienced the process first-hand if we are to truly make the changes necessary to increase their ability to create jobs and grow America's economy."
Rep. Shuster touted small business as the central component in economic development and job creation. "I am pleased to have had the opportunity to join Representatives Larsen and Schilling for this important roundtable discussion. I am also pleased we were able to tour the Rock Island Arsenal which continues to play a pivotal role for our national security. Today's event marks the second discussion on DOD contracting and the overall business environment for defense contractors in America. It is critical that policy makers in Washington get the chance to meet and speak with individuals who work in this sector every day. It is the best way to get an on-the-ground assessment of what needs to be done to create jobs and strengthen the American economy."
Rep. Larsen hosted the panel's first meeting in his district and pushed the Department of Defense to do everything possible to encourage competition and implement improvement within defense contracting. "I am pleased to be joining Chairman Shuster and other panel members on this visit to Illinois. Earlier this year I hosted a similar roundtable in my district that looked at DOD contracting and how to improve it for warfighters and for taxpayers. Talking with businesses and communities doing this work is the best way to learn what steps we should be taking, and I look forward to the conversation."