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Chairman LaLota: “Leveling the Playing Field: State of Small Business Contracting”

WASHINGTON, D.C.– Today, the House Committee on Small Business Subcommittee on Contracting and Infrastructure is holding a hearing titled “Leveling the Playing Field: State of Small Business Contracting”.

Subcommittee Chairman Nick LaLota’s opening statement as prepared for delivery:

Good afternoon and welcome to today’s hearing.

First, I want to thank our witnesses for joining us today. Your time here is very much appreciated, and I look forward to your testimonies.

Today, the Subcommittee on Contracting and Infrastructure will focus on several critical issues facing Main Street America. We must address the alarming decline in small business federal procurement. Small businesses eligible to contract with the federal government declined by nearly 40 percent from 2010-2019 and new businesses entering the procurement marketplace declined by 79 percent from 2005-2019.

Members of this Committee– from both sides of the aisle– understand the crucial role small businesses play in increasing competition, innovation, and stimulating our economy and yet they have been systematically squeezed out of federal contracting for decades.

This decline is exacerbated by the Biden Administration steering our economy and national security in the wrong direction. At a time when the country needs a robust defense industrial base, small businesses are getting pushed out of government contracts in this space.

It is also crucial that we ensure small business contracting goals are accurately reported by the government. As we have seen in countless cases, the government does not have a true representation of small businesses in contracting. For example, contracting methods like the SBA’s Scorecard portray inaccurate assessments by allowing for things like double counting, which leads to inflated numbers.

Finally, we must examine the effects of ineligible firms by reevaluating issues such as self-certification. Just like with any small business program across the federal government, we must ensure structure and guidance is in place to ensure firms are accurately represented. Fraud is rampant in these self-certification problems and yet, the Biden Administration seeks to expand rather than correct these actions.

Our goal on this Committee is to create a pathway for small businesses to succeed. We understand the value and substance that make up each of these businesses in our hometowns and vow to continue to advocate for their success.

In my district, Long Island is home to so many incredible small businesses and hard-working entrepreneurs who serve our community and provide exceptional goods and services. When traveling around the district, I hear from each of these small businesses about the issues they are facing and the actions we can take in Congress to help provide a better future for Main Street.

Small business contractors play a vital role in America’s industrial base and national security apparatus. Your real-world experiences will help the Committee work to make meaningful improvements to ensure small businesses are fully utilized in the federal procurement marketplace. It is my fear that the decline of small business contracting will continue until steps are taken to improve competition and accurately report on the true status on the state of small businesses in federal procurement.

Thank you all for joining us today, and I am looking forward to the conversation ahead. With that, I yield to my distinguished colleague, the Ranking Member from Michigan, Ms. Scholten, for her opening remarks.