House Small Business Committee Chairman Sam Graves (R-MO) and Rep. Allen West (R-FL) today introduced legislation that will help protect small business contractors by addressing unfair contract bundling. The Contractor Opportunity Protection Act (COP) of 2012 restricts the practice of unjustified contract bundling by providing the Small Business Administration (SBA) and third party groups with the ability to appeal an agency’s decision to bundle. Contracting bundling is the practice of packaging many contracts together as one, essentially making it impossible for small businesses to compete for them, thereby limiting competition to the detriment of the taxpayer. Today’s legislation is part of a comprehensive initiative from the House Small Business Committee aimed at reforming small business contracting policies.
“Legislation that helps more small businesses participate in federal procurement is good for the economy and good for the taxpayer because small firms often perform a service for the government cheaper and often quicker than their larger counterparts,” said Chairman Graves. “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.”
“Thousands of small businesses around the country seek federal contracts every year and often have a difficult time navigating the process,” said Rep. West. “The COP Act will make a significant impact on small businesses landing contracts with the federal government.”
Details of the legislation:
Contractor Opportunity Protection (COP) Act of 2012:
- The Contractor Opportunity Protection Act provides a stronger process to appeal unjustified bundling through clarification of the statutory limits on bundling, the creation of a third party arbiter, and more transparency in the contracting process.
- Creates a third party arbiter to fight unjustified bundling by allowing the Small Business Administration (SBA) to appeal a questionable bundling decision to the Civilian Board of Contract Appeals or the Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals, and if SBA declines to do so, the legislation allows third party groups to bring a GAO protest.
- Currently, contract bundling limitations aren’t being applied to new construction, which gives big business an advantage. Construction has one of the highest unemployment rates of any industry, so it is especially important that we give small businesses the ability to compete for contracts and create jobs.
- The Contractor Opportunity Protection Act also improves bundling justification requirements and requires publication of the justification to provide greater specificity and transparency into the procurement policy decisions made by federal agencies