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Chairman Graves Introduces Small Business Legislation, Takes Action to Reform Small Business Contracting Policy

House Small Business Committee Chairman Sam Graves (R-MO) today introduced legislation that will help create jobs by providing more contracting opportunities for small firms and reforming small business federal contracting policy. The GET Small Business Contracting Act of 2012 will increase the federal government goal for small business contracting percentage from 23 percent to 25 percent, and the Small Business Advocate Act of 2012 will empower the Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU) at all federal agencies to better advocate on behalf of small businesses in the contracting process. Today’s legislation is the first in a series of bills from the House Small Business Committee aimed at reforming small business contracting policies.

“Because the federal government spends half a trillion dollars on contracted goods and services, we owe it to the taxpayer to make sure their money is used wisely and efficiently,” said Chairman Graves. “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. Small businesses have proven time and time again that they can perform a service or produce goods for the government cheaper and often quicker than their larger counterparts, however, various bureaucratic impediments remain for small contractors. Any avenue to save taxpayer dollars, increase competition and spark growth is the route we should be taking.”

Details of the legislation:

GET Small Business Contracting (Government Efficiency through Small Business Contracting) Act of 2012 (HR 3850):

• The federal government spends nearly $540 billion in contracting each year, with a goal of awarding 23% of prime contract dollars to small businesses. 
• This legislation raises the small business contracting goal from 23 percent to 25 percent. Raising the goal by 2 percent means a substantial amount of new business for small businesses – about $11 billion worth.
• The Obama administration missed that target by over 3 percent in FY 2010— that’s nearly $20 billion that small businesses missed out on. According to early data, it appears the administration missed the 23 percent target by a larger amount in FY 2011.
• This legislation holds top agencies accountable for meeting the small business goals by withholding the senior agency officials’ bonuses if the small business goals aren’t met. 
• 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.

Small Business Advocate Act of 2012 (HR 3851):
• The goal of the Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU) is to promote the maximum practicable utilization of small businesses in federal contracting at each agency, both at the prime and subcontract level. 
• 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.
• Acting as the OSDBU Director is often simply another assigned duty for a senior official that lacks the authority to challenge decisions made by the Chief Acquisition Officer or Senior Procurement Executive. This legislation elevates their position to a senior acquisition leader in the agency and prohibits them from holding any other position so they can concentrate on their advocacy responsibilities.