Washington, D.C.— Today, the House Small Business Committee Subcommittee on Contracting and Infrastructure, Chaired by Kweisi Mfume (D-MD), held a hearing examining the role of small contractors under potential infrastructure investment plans. The hearing gathered small contractors and procurement experts to discuss how infrastructure investment can benefit small businesses and small firms’ role in revitalizing the nation’s infrastructure.
“An investment in infrastructure would be a significant benefit to all small firms. Small businesses rely on infrastructure systems daily to increase their access to customers and suppliers, boost business operations, and create new demand for their goods and services,” said Chairman Mfume. “Infrastructure investment would be a particular benefit for the millions of small businesses and employees who directly and indirectly support the development, modernization, and maintenance of the infrastructure networks targeted in the legislation.”
For decades, American infrastructure has been in a state of decline. With Congress currently considering various infrastructure proposals like the American Jobs Plan and the INVEST in America Act, the effort presents a significant opportunity for small government contractors. The American Jobs Plan includes provisions to invest billions in federal infrastructure projects and yesterday, the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure passed the INVEST in America Act, a bill that would make $547 billion worth of investment in roads, bridges, transit, and rail.
There are currently various federal programs that operate to ensure that small contracting firms can compete for and win their fair share of government contracts. The hearing allowed members to examine the impact that infrastructure investment can have on small businesses and the steps Congress can take to empower small firms in federal procurement.
“WCOE urges Congress to enact a bold infrastructure package. The President has proposed a wide-ranging American Jobs Plan (AJP) and we hope the bipartisan negotiations will quickly bring agreement on critically important infrastructure spending,” said Sheila Ohrenberg National President of the Women Construction Owners and Executives (WCOE) and President of the Sorella Group in Kansas City, KS. “Infrastructure is the strategic underpinning of the nation and yet the U.S. has been underinvesting in our infrastructure for decades.”
“The figures that have been mentioned in connection with the Plan should allow minority contractors and DBE’s more opportunities than ever before,” said Ralph Thomas III, Executive Director Emeritus, National Association of Minority Contractors. “The $621 billion that the Administration presently anticipates spending on roads, bridges, public transit, rail, ports, waterways, airports, are all areas that DBE’s are currently performing in, and the new infusion of federal spending will be more than welcome.”
“Our nation’s small business electrical contractors are perfectly positioned to build, preserve, and retrofit the more than 2 million homes and commercial buildings referenced in the American Jobs Plan,” said Josh Bone, Executive Director ELECTRI International. “After the volatile 15 months created by the COVID-19 pandemic, there is no question that small contractors will prioritize these types of projects and be grateful to have the work. Small contractors can deploy their existing skills while developing new knowledge that they can then apply to other local projects.”