Last week, Rep. Judy Chu (CA-32) passed major federal contracting reform for small businesses when the House approved a package of eight bills included in the National Defense Authorization Act of Fiscal Year 2013 (NDAA). This package came out of the Small Business Subcommittee on Contracting and the Workforce of which Rep. Chu is the Ranking Member. The reforms increase contracting opportunities for small business and create protections against contracting fraud and abuse. Congresswoman Chu (CA-32) released the following statement marking this landmark victory for small businesses:
"Doing business with government is vital for many firms' success, especially during these tough economic times. But due to the sheer complexity of the system it is difficult for small businesses to gain a toe-hold in the federal procurement system. When small businesses create 2 out of every 3 jobs, small entrepreneurs must have increased access to government contracts. The passage of the NDAA with my bill and seven other provisions I've been working on is the first step towards bringing that to fruition. At a time when capital is so scarce, having access to the more than half a trillion dollars spent by the federal government each year can mean the difference between hiring or downsizing -- expanding or closing. At the end of the day, lives and livelihoods hang in the balance of those differences, which is why the passage of these contracting reforms are such a victory for small businesses throughout the country."
Background -- Historically, it has been difficult for small businesses to gain entry in the federal procurement system. To help small business access the federal marketplace, mentor-protégé programs were established, allowing smaller firms the opportunity to work directly with larger vendors. The experience provides them with vital experience and lead to future opportunities, which will hopefully lead to getting more federal contracts in the hands of small businesses.
Congresswoman Chu's Building Better Business Partnerships Act of 2012 -- one of the major reforms included in the NDAA -- helps small firms break into federal contracting by making it easier for them to join mentor-protégé programs. The bill streamlines the process and creates better oversight over the programs so small businesses truly benefit from these agreements.
As Ranking Member on the Small Business Subcommittee on Contracting and the Workforce, her leadership was also pivotal in garnering support for the seven other provisions included in the NDAA. Among those are the Government Efficiency Through Small Business Contracting Act of 2012, which raises the small business contracting goal from 23% to 25% of all federal procurement and the Small Business Advocate Act of 2012, which makes it easier for the Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU) to advocate for small business contracts, focus on acquisition assistance, and fight insourcing and unjustified contract bundling. A full list of federal contracting provisions for small businesses included in the NDAA can be found on the House Small Business website by clicking here.