The House Small Business Committee Chairman Sam Graves (R-MO) today testified during a House Armed Services Committee hearing about including the Committee’s small business contracting legislation in the Fiscal Year 2013 National Defense Authorization Act.
Earlier this year, the Small Business Committee introduced a series of bills that will create jobs by reforming the federal procurement system to provide more opportunities for small firms. The comprehensive effort to reform small business contracting resulted in legislation that will increase opportunities for small businesses, create protections to fight fraud and abuse, and empower advocates who fight for small businesses during the acquisition process.
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The Chairman delivered the following remarks during the hearing:
“Thank you, Chairman McKeon, Ranking Member Smith, and members of the Committee. Given that federal government spends over half a trillion dollars each year through contracts, the federal procurement market is incredibly important for small businesses. Improving small business opportunities for federal contracts is a triple play – small businesses win more contracts; workers win as the small businesses create jobs; and taxpayers win because small businesses bring competition, innovation and lower prices to save the government money and improve the health of the industrial base.
“Over the past year the Small Business Committee has held ten hearings on federal procurement issues. These have resulted in 8 bills introduced by the majority, each of which has been voted out of Committee with bipartisan support. This package of reforms has been supported by over 20 trade associations, including the National Defense Industrial Association, the Associated General Contractors, the Chamber of Commerce, the Financial Services Roundtable¸ the Minority Business Roundtable, Women Impacting Public Policy, and many others.
“At the same time that the Small Business Committee was developing legislation, this Committee’s Panel on Business Challenges in the Defense Industry was holding hearings and roundtables addressing many of the same issues under the leadership of Mr. Shuster and Mr. Larsen. I was pleased to be part of one of these roundtables with Mr. West and Mr. Shuster in Florida. The Panel’s final report, issued last month, and the legislation marked up by the Small Business Committee complement each other and reflect a common understanding of issues facing small business participation in the industrial base.
“Therefore, I am here today to support the inclusion of the eight small business contracting bills in this year’s National Defense Authorization Act. As I discussed in detail in my written statement, each of them ties to the Panel’s report, including raising the government wide small business contracting goal from 23% to 25%; increasing the level of responsibility for small business advocates embedded within each federal agency; addressing fraud and abuse and eliminating the deceptive practice of pass-throughs, improving mentor-protégé programs and the size standard review process; and lastly, addressing unjustifiable contract bundling.
“Each of the bills received bipartisan support in Committee. Each supports the intentions, if not specific recommendations, of the Panel Report produced by this Committee. And most importantly, each bill provides more opportunity to small businesses to create jobs at a price that is in the best interest of taxpayers.
“I am pleased that our two Committees are working so cooperatively, and hope that this language will be incorporated into this year’s National Defense Authorization Act. Thank you.”