Bill seeks small biz protection in 'unfair' contract bundling

Friday - 2/17/2012, 12:56pm EST

A bill introduced in the House today aims to give small businesses more opportunities in bundled contracts.

The Contractor Opportunity Protection Act (COP) of 2012, sponsored by Small Business Committee Chairman Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.) and Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.), creates a "stronger" appeal process for small firms and third party groups, according to a release from the lawmakers.

A bundled contract contains requirements that were originally spread across multiple contracts, creating what can be unfair competition for smaller firms.

The bill creates a third-party arbiter that allows the Small Business Administration to appeal a "questionable bundling decision" to the Civilian Board of Contract Appeals or the Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals. If SBA declines to take up the appeal, the protest can be taken to the Government Accountability Office.

"Contract bundling is a legitimate part of federal contracting but it can sometimes be carried out unfairly. This legislation helps address this problem by adding more transparency and a stronger judicial check to the process," Graves said in statement.

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