Washington, D.C.— Yesterday, the House passed the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2022 (NDAA), a bipartisan defense bill that includes numerous provisions to help small government contractors. Committee members fought to include several provisions that address critical issues facing small firms seeking procurement opportunities.
“The government contracting space presents critical opportunities for small businesses across a variety of different industries. But too often, small businesses have a harder time winning contracts compared to their larger peers,” said Chairwoman Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY). “These provisions will help even the playing field by addressing key issues that are holding many small businesses back. The federal government is the largest purchaser of goods and services in the world, small businesses deserve the chance to compete for these dollars.”
Protecting Small Contractors
Introduced by Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-NY) and Rep. Byron Donalds (R-FL)
The measure exempts the threshold for payment and performance bonds and the threshold for alternate payment protections under the Miller Act from periodic adjustments for inflation. The bill text clarifies that these thresholds should remain as modified in regulations upon enactment of the bill, which currently is $150,000 for payment and performance bonds and $35,000 for alternate payment protections. The provision seeks to ensure the protections afforded to small businesses and taxpayers through surety bonds are not lost in smaller contracts due to continual adjustments for inflation.
Enhancing Transparency in Cybersecurity Initiatives for Small Contractors
Introduced by Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN) and Rep. Beth Van Duyne (R-TX)
The measure requires DOD to submit a report on the effects of the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification framework on small business concerns and how the Department will mitigate any negative impact on small businesses resulting from the use and implementation of the framework.
Reviewing Small Business Opportunities in Military Construction Projects
Introduced by Rep. Andy Kim (D-NJ), Rep. August Pfluger (R-TX), Rep. John Garamendi (D-CA), and Rep. Donald Norcross (D-NJ)
The provision requires the Comptroller General to review the contracting approaches used to maintain and upgrade domestic military installations. The review would survey the extent to which the Department of Defense uses competitive procedures when awarding these contracts and the number of contracts awarded to small businesses.
This measure would require the Secretary of Defense to submit a report to Congress detailing DOD’s progress on implementing recommendations outlined in a GAO report on enhancing procurement technical assistance programs, including one recommendation relative to formalizing a collaborative agreement with the SBA to ensure PTACs and SBDCs work together on providing contracting assistance. The measure was included in the NDAA joint explanatory statement, but not in the final bill.