House Small Business Committee-sponsored contracting reform legislation has been included in the bicameral National Defense Authorization Act of 2015 (NDAA) agreement
that will soon be voted on in the House.
During the 112th Congress and early in the 113th Congress, the Committee has been successful in including small business legislation that it marked up in the final NDAAs that were signed into law. Given that about 70 percent of government contracts are awarded by the Department of Defense, the Armed Services Committee and Small Business Committee have worked together to include reforms into the NDAA.
“I’m pleased that we were able to again include many of our small business contracting reforms in this year’s NDAA,” said Chairman Graves. “The included legislation will help small businesses have a better chance at competing in the procurement marketplace. Our reforms from the last several years have contributed to the federal government finally reaching the 23 percent small business contracting goal for the first time in eight years. The reforms in this NDAA will help this accomplishment become a regular occurrence.”
“Many of our federal government procurement bidding processes are unnecessarily complex and complicated, especially for small businesses,” said Subcommittee on Contracting and Workforce Chairman Richard Hanna (R-NY). “These reforms are a positive step toward giving small contractors the ability to more fairly compete for business. I am particularly pleased that we are making progress in reforming reverse auctions, which actually hurt taxpayers and small contractors in industries like construction and design.”
Committee-sponsored legislation included in this year’s NDAA:
Design-Build Bidding Reform (Section 814) – Simplifies the multistep process of competing for design-build contracts with the Department of Defense. Originated as the Design Build Efficiency and Jobs Act of 2013, sponsored by Graves.
Comprehensive Subcontracting Plan Reform (Section 821) – At the request of Graves, the NDAA included provisions to increase transparency and accountability in the Test Program for Negotiation of Comprehensive Small Business Subcontracting Plans.
Contracting Data and Bundling Accountability (Section 822) – Brings more transparency to data reported on bundled and consolidated contracts. Originated as the Contracting Data and Bundling Accountability Act of 2013, sponsored by Graves, and passed by the Committee.
Export Assistance for Small Businesses (Section 823) – At the request of Committee members, the NDAA included provisions intended to help small businesses comply with complicated import and export requirements with the International Traffic in Arms Regulations and Export Administration Regulations.
Reverse Auctions Reform (Section 824) – Within the Department of Defense, this provision limits the use of reverse auctions by banning the use of single-round reverse auctions, single-bid reverse auctions absent price protections, third-party reverse auctions that include inherently governmental functions or private past performance evaluations, and reverse auctions for design-build work. Given that 95 percent of reverse auctions are for contracts of less than $150,000, improper use of this tool has been harming small businesses, limiting competition, and delivering contracts that fail to save the taxpayers money. Originated as the Commonsense Construction Contracting Act of 2013, sponsored by Hanna, and passed by the Committee.
Women-Owned Small Businesses (Section 825) – Permits sole-source contracts for Women-Owned Small Businesses (WOSBs) and Economically-Disadvantaged Women-Owned Small Businesses (EDWOSBs) if there is only one WOSB or EDWOSB who can perform the work and the value of the contract is below $ 4 million, or $6.5 million for manufacturing. This provides WOSBs and EDWOSBs with the same sole-source authority currently available to HUBZone and Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Businesses firms. Originated as the Women's Procurement Program Equalization Act of 2013, sponsored by Ranking Member Nydia Velasquez (D-NY), and passed by the Committee.