House Passes Five Bipartisan Bills to Help Small Business Thrive
WASHINGTON – The House of Representatives today approved five bipartisan bills to protect and provide opportunities for small businesses, save taxpayers money and promote greater accountability from the federal government. All five measures were spearheaded by the House Committee on Small Business and now move to the U.S. Senate for consideration.
“Small businesses give us the majority of our new jobs,” said House Committee on Small Business Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH). “These are just five of the many common sense ways we can help give our small businesses the opportunities and confidence they need to thrive. I appreciate the hard work and dedicated cooperation of all of our Members—as well as the leadership of Mr. Curbelo, Mr. Kelly, Mr. Bost, Ms. Velázquez, and Ms. Adams—in offering these solutions today.”
“Unlike larger companies, when small businesses win federal projects, they often bring on new workers, creating badly needed jobs in our local communities,” said Ranking Member Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY). “By reforming federal contracting rules, these measures will help more entrepreneurs break into the federal marketplace, strengthening our small business sector and bolstering our overall economy.”
Below are brief summaries of the five bills passed by the House today:
·H.R. 4284, Service Provider Opportunity Clarification Act of 2015, Offered by Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL): Since 1978, the Small Business Act has required that large prime contractors awarded contracts exceeding $700,000 ($1.5 million for construction) negotiate subcontracting plans detailing the opportunity for small business participation. These plans are often considered in the award of the contract. Failure to make a good faith effort to comply with a subcontracting plan can lead to the assessment of liquidated damages, but the Small Business Administration (SBA) has never explained what a failure to make a good faith effort means. This bill instructs SBA to provide clarification so that companies trying to comply know what is expected of them while making it easier to identify bad actors.
·H.R. 3714, Small Agriculture Producer Size Standards Improvements of 2015, Offered by Rep. Mike Bost (R-IL): The SBA creates industry based size standards to determine which companies are small and which are large for the purposes of SBA assistance. However, the agricultural producer size standard is not regularly reevaluated and adjusted, to the detriment of small farmers and agricultural producers. This legislation amends the Small Business Act to give SBA the authority to appropriately set size standards for the various types of farms and agricultural producers.
·H.R. 4332, Maximizing Small Business Competition Act of 2016, Offered by Rep. Trent Kelly (R-MS): Procurement Center Representatives (PCRs) of the SBA review federal solicitations to ensure that they don’t unnecessarily impede the ability of small businesses to compete for contracts. However, in 2012, the SBA issued a regulation that said those PCRs would not review certain bundled and consolidated contracts, disregarding complaints of many small contractors that these contracts were structured to minimize small business participation. This bill states that the SBA may not restrict PCR review of these contracts.
·H.R. 4325, Unifying Small Business Terminology Act of 2016, Offered by Ranking Member Nydia Velázquez (D-NY): Many of the contracting provisions in the Small Business Act use outdated terminology for federal contracting. As a result, the SBA has adopted terms in its regulations that differ from the Small Business Act so that the SBA’s regulations will make sense when read with the Federal Acquisition Regulations. This bill amends the Small Business Act to use the standard terms already found in titles 10, 38, and 41 of the United States Code and in SBA’s own regulations. This will reduce confusion for small businesses and contracting officers.
·H.R. 4326, Small and Disadvantaged Business Enhancement Act of 2016, Offered by Rep. Alma Adams (D-NC): Since 1978, there have been Offices of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization in federal agencies with the goal of helping small businesses compete for federal contracts. This provision clarifies that these offices should also provide assistance to service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses, and small businesses located in historically underutilized business zones (HUBZones). Additionally, the bill allows these offices with access to data that will allow them to better detect abuse of government credit cards.