Government contracts for small businesses were discussed this week on Capitol Hill.
U.S. Rep. Sam Graves (R-MO) asked the House Armed Services Committee Wednesday to include more contracting for small businesses in a defense spending bill for 2015. Graves serves as chairman of the House Committee on Small Business. Graves testified before the committee that a bill he proposed should be included in the National Defense Authorization Act.
The act is a law passed annually specifying budget and expenditures for the U.S. Department of Defense.
Graves introduced the Greater Opportunities for Small Business Act of 2014 earlier this year.
The bill as written would give small businesses more opportunities to compete for federal government contract work. It has been the goal of the federal government to award at least 23 percent of its sub-contracted work to small businesses. But government agencies have historically fallen short of that goal.
Graves’ legislation actually calls for an increase on that 23 percent goal to 25 percent of all contract work going to small businesses. In addition, Graves also asked the House Armed Services Committee to include another bill that would de-bundle larger government contracts. When some contracts are bundled together, that often leaves small businesses feeling unable to compete for the work.
Asking the House Armed Services Committee for help in his fashion is not new. In fact, small business legislation has often looked for support in the House Armed Services Committee.
In a statement following his testimony to the committee, Graves said:
“Recognizing that this is a crucial area for small businesses, over the past three years, the Armed Services Committee and the Small Business Committee have worked together to reduce barriers to entry, create guidance that allows small businesses to compete and facilitates the Department of Defense (DoD) meeting the needs of the warfighter, and ensure that we have a strong small business industrial base.”
In the past, the House Small Business and Armed Forces committees have teamed to better fund small businesses through government contract work. This has included offering incentives and bonuses to federal employees when contracts are awarded to small businesses.
Also, according to Graves, the committees have joined forces to better ensure that larger companies don’t use fronts to procure government contracts posing as small businesses.