Owens-Graves Bill to Bolster Small Business One Step Closer to House Floor

Press Release

By:  Bill Owens
Date: March 7, 2012
Location: Washington, DC

Today, legislation aimed at providing more work for small businesses was approved by the House Small Business Committee by a voice vote. The House Speaker will now determine when the bill will be considered by the full House of Representatives. Congressman Bill Owens (D-NY) is an original cosponsor of the Government Efficiency through Small Business Contracting Act of 2012, which holds federal agencies accountable if they do not reach congressionally mandated goals to award federal contracts to small businesses. The legislation was introduced by Small Business Chairman Sam Graves (R-MO) on January 31, 2012.

"This bill is a bipartisan solution that will help small businesses grow and create jobs by holding federal agencies accountable," said Owens. "In our fight to provide small business owners the tools they need to hire and expand, we have to ensure that Washington lives up to its promise to foster an environment of economic growth."

The Government Efficiency through Small Business Contracting Act of 2012, H.R. 3850, increases the current government-wide small business contracting goal from 23 percent to 25 percent and introduces penalties on agencies and their executives if these goals are not met. For example, agencies that fail to report their contract awards 120 days after the end of the prior fiscal year would be barred from carrying out any pilot programs in the subsequent year. Additionally, senior executives at federal agencies that fail to achieve their small business procurement goal would be barred from taking sabbaticals the following year or receive any incentive awards.

Congress set a goal in 1997 that 23 percent of all federal contracts would be awarded to small businesses. While each federal agency is permitted to set its own small business procurement goals in consultation with the Small Business Administration (SBA), the sum of all agencies' goals must add up to 23 percent. However, federal agencies typically fail to meet their small business contracting goals and there are currently no penalties for these shortfalls.