This past week on Capitol Hill, one of the topics brought up for discussion was government contracts for small businesses. On Wednesday, U.S. Rep. Sam Graves (R-MO), who introduced the Greater Opportunities for Small Business Act of 2014 earlier this year and serves as a chairman of the House Committee on Small Business, formally asked the House Armed Services Committee to include more contracts for small businesses in a defense spending bill for 2015. Graves testified before the committee arguing that his Greater Opportunities for Small Business Act should be included in the National Defense Authorization Act (a law passed annually specifying budget and expenditures for the U.S. Department of Defense).
As written, this bill would open up more opportunities for small businesses to compete for federal government contract work. This would support the federal government’s stated goal to award at least 23 percent of its contract work to small businesses—a goal that government agencies consistently do not meet. Graves’ bill actually calls for an increase of that 23 percent goal to 25 percent. In addition, Graves requested that the House Armed Services Committee include another bill aimed at de-bundling larger government contracts, which would allow small businesses to more effectively compete for those contracts. He also asked that the Small Business and Armed Services committees join forces in an effort to better ensure that larger companies don’t pose as small businesses to unfairly procure government contracts.
Graves’ actions this week have a strong precedent, as small business legislators have historically looked for support from the House Armed Services Committee in their endeavors. In the past, the Small Business and Armed Forces committees in the House have worked together to better fund small businesses and drive growth via government contract work. Prior efforts have included offering incentives and bonuses to federal employees when contracts are awarded to small businesses.
In a statement by Graves following his testimony to the committee, he cites how, over the past three years, the two committees “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 [to] ensure that we have a strong small business industrial base.”
Sophy, Joshua. “An Update on the Greater Opportunities for Small Business Act.” Small Business Trends. 4/10/14.