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Tsongas Introduces Bipartisan Legislation Improving Small Business and Federal Government Contracts


Location: Washington, DC

In a bipartisan, bicameral effort to improve government contracts, U.S. Representatives Niki Tsongas (D-MA) and Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) introduced the Small Business Fairness Act of 2012. This measure would amend the Small Business Act to allow for a better working relationship between small businesses and the Federal Government. The legislation is a companion measure to Senator Mike Enzi's (R-WY) and Senator Bob Casey's (D-PA) S. 1110.

"This legislation will help small businesses that are owned by women and disabled veterans or which are located in Historically Underutilized Businesses (HUB) Zones, which includes Lowell, Lawrence, Haverhill and Methuen, pool their resources to more easily do business with the federal government," explained Congresswoman Niki Tsongas. "Our bipartisan bill removes existing administrative barriers that unnecessarily restrict this type of activity and will help more small businesses grow and create jobs."

The Small Business Fairness Act would build on regional teaming arrangements, allowing businesses to pool resources to compete for larger government procurement contracts and still keep their minority and disadvantaged contract status. Federal requirements to fulfill a percentage of contracts with small businesses owned by women, service-disabled veterans, Native Americans, or businesses within qualified HUB Zones, can discourage qualifying business from teaming up if that means they lose their contract status.

"This isn't only good for the small business that will benefit from government contracts, but also for our government," Rep. Cynthia Lummis said. "These contracts will be more competitive, allowing the government to choose the most competitive proposal."

Small businesses that have specific specializations or expertise are often unable to compete for larger and more complex government contracts. However, through so-called teaming arrangements they can identify and work with other small businesses to satisfy the needs of a given contract. The Small Business Fairness Act will enable small businesses to pool their resources and abilities to meet the needs of the federal government without losing their status as minority, women, or disabled veteran owned businesses.

"This legislation will allow small business to draw upon each other's unique skill sets and make themselves more competitive for federal contracts," said Bob Baker, President of the Smaller Businesses Association of New England (SBANE).

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