The House Small Business Committee passed a series of small business contracting bills this morning, all by voice vote. This legislation now will go to the full House of Representatives for action. CompTIA supports this legislation, as well as six other contracting bills passed by the Committee on March 7, and will call on the full House to act on this legislation quickly. Here is a brief summary:
- HR 3985- “Building Better Business Partnerships Act of 2012” – This bill would authorize the SBA to establish a mentor-protégé program for all small businesses. Under current law, the SBA mentor-protégé program is limited to small businesses participating in the section 8(a) guaranteed loan program.
- HR 3987 - "Small Business Protection Act of 2012" – This bill would require the SBA to publish its rationale for setting a single size standard for a four-digit North American Industrial Classification (NAIC) code category.
- HR 4081 - “Contractor Opportunity Protection Act of 2012” – This bill would address contract bundling, providing additional safeguards and requirements to protect small business contracting from being displaced. It also would require the SBA to develop and maintain a database of information on each bundled contract awarded by an agency and each small business displaced as a prime contractor as a result of such award.
- HR 4203 - “Women’s Procurement Program Improvement Act of 2012” – This bill would allow a sole source contract to be awarded to a women-owned small business when the contracting officer does not have a reasonable expectation that two or more WOSBs will submit offers.
- HR 4206 - “Contracting Oversight for Small Business Jobs Act of 2012” – This bill would impose more stringent requirements and penalties for businesses that misrepresent their status as a small business.
Each of these bills represents a positive step toward securing and protecting federal contracting opportunities for small businesses. We are especially pleased with the positive vote on HR 4203 - “Women’s Procurement Program Improvement Act of 2012.” Just this month, CompTIA sent a letter to the House Small Business Committee urging it to address this issue, which denied use of the program unless two or more women owned small businesses submitted bids. In a field, such as IT, in which women are a minority, we have seen examples of competent and innovative women-owned tech companies that have been denied federal government procurement opportunities, simply because there were no other women-owned tech companies submitting a bid for the same government procurement opportunity. This just seems wrong, especially considering that this “two or more” business requirement does not apply to similar programs, such as section 8(a) business development participants, HUBZone small businesses and service disabled veteran-owned small businesses.
Certainly, the House Small Business Committee is to be commended in its undertaking in developing and voting out these important small business contracting provisions. The full House should take up these bills for a vote now.