House Small Business Committee Chairman Sam Graves (R-MO) today released the following statement on the House passage of the National Defense Authorization Act Conference Report, which includes contracting reform legislation reported by the Small Business Committee that will help increase contracting opportunities for small businesses:
"Today's vote brings us one step closer to our Committee's contracting reform legislation becoming law. The federal government marketplace is full of great opportunities for small businesses to succeed, if only we give them the chance. The small business provisions in the NDAA will help make sure existing small business goals are actually met, empower small business advocates, and crack down on fraud. Given that the federal government spends over half a trillion dollars each year on private sector contracting, small businesses deserve a chance to compete for the work, because they bring efficiency and cost-savings to the taxpayer and create jobs while doing it."
In early 2012, the Small Business Committee introduced a series of contracting reform bills aimed at increasing opportunities for small business, creating protections to fight fraud and abuse, and empowering advocates who fight for small business during the federal acquisition process. The legislation is the result of the findings of 10 contracting hearings during 2011. On May 10, 2012, the House Armed Services Committee voted to include the Committee's contracting reform legislation into the National Defense Authorization Act of 2013, which the House passed on Friday, May 18, 2012.
Notable Contracting Provisions In The NDAA:
* Enforces existing small business contracting goals by requiring that meeting the goals be a part of senior agency employee reviews and bonus discussions. The federal government has missed the 23% small business goal for six consecutive years.
* Changes limitations on subcontracting from cost to price, which will make it easier for small businesses to comply with procurement rules, while also allowing them to team together to pursue larger contracts.
* Prevents contracting fraud by placing penalties on violating limitations on subcontracting, and makes it easier to suspend and debar companies intentionally defrauding the government.
* Helps woman-owned small contractors by removing the set-aside caps on the women's contracting program.
* Requires the SBA to develop size standards that accurately define what is a small business for each of the over 1100 industries where small firms operate, instead of allowing SBA to continue taking short cuts for its own administrative convenience.
* Gives small business a "safe harbor" if they acted on a written advisory opinion from either a Small Business Development Center or Procurement Technical Assistance Center and violated a rule by mistake.
* Brings transparency to insourcing decisions by requiring OMB and agencies to publish procedures, methodologies, and guidance documents associated with the decisions.
* Fights contract bundling by requiring a report and more oversight to occur in regards to what gets bundled. The review specifically will look at whether the contract bundlings are justified.