Bill to increase agencies' small contracting goals

Tuesday - 1/31/2012, 12:56pm EST

The chairman of the House Committee on Small Business is introducing two bills today aimed at increasing small business contracts in government, including bumping agencies' small contracting goal from 23 percent to 25 percent.

Raising the goal 2 percentage points would make $11 billion more available in contracts to small businesses, according to a release by committee chairman Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.), who sponsored the bills.

"This legislation will help provide more opportunities for small businesses, which will help create jobs. Government contracting offers a unique opportunity to invest in small businesses while also stimulating our economy, considering small businesses create the majority of jobs—65 percent over the last 17 years," Graves said in a statement.

Agencies currently must meet this overall 23 percent goal and specific targets for women-owned, service-disabled veteran-owned, small disadvantaged and HUBZone businesses.

The federal government overall has missed this 23 percent goal every year since fiscal 2005. Most recently, the Small Business Administration reported 22.7 percent of government contracts went to small businesses, according to the 2010 scorecard released last year.

The bill — the Government Efficiency Through Small Business Contracting) Act of 2012 — also withholds the bonuses of senior officials of an agency that fails to reach its goals.

The legislation also ensures opportunities for small businesses as subcontractors, with a goal of awarding 40 percent of all subcontracted dollars to small businesses — an increase from the current goal of 35.9 percent, according to the release.

The largest federal agencies, including Cabinet-level agencies, have an Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business, responsible for promoting small business contracting. The director of this office would be elevated to "a senior acquisition leader" in the agency as part of the second bill, the Small Business Advocate Act of 2012.

"This legislation makes it easier for the OSDBU to advocate for small business contracts, focus on acquisition assistance, and fight insourcing and unjustified contract bundling," according to the release.

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