House Small Biz Committee OKs 8 contracting bills

The House Small Business Committee passed eight bills during March aimed at making it easier for small companies to get contracts with the government. Committee Chairman Sam Graves, R-Mo., said the bills would be combined into one package and sent to the House floor.

The bills include:

Government Efficiency Through Small Business Contracting Act

Raises to 25 percent the amount of federal contracts that should go to small businesses. Under current law, the figure is 23 percent.

Small Business Advocate Act

Makes it easier for the Offices of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization in federal agencies to advocate for small business contracts.

Subcontracting Transparency and Reliability Act

Makes it easier for the government to stop large businesses from winning contracts by using small companies to front for them. Allows more small businesses to team up to win contracts.

Small Business Opportunity Act

Provides for small business advocates to be part of the federal contracting process.

Building Better Business Partnerships Act

Allows the Small Business Administration to oversee 13 current mentorship programs for small businesses, including those at other federal agencies. The programs match small businesses seeking federal contracts with companies that are veterans of the contracting process.

Small Business Protection Act

Revamps the SBA's size standards, or the yardstick it uses for determining what is a small business. Sponsors of the bill say the SBA is lumping smaller companies in with others that are larger, and that this could make it difficult for some small businesses to compete for contracts.

Contractor Opportunity Protection Act

Would overhaul the appeals process for contract bundling. Bundling is the process that brings a number of small companies together to provide goods or services to fulfill one large government contract. Often they are subcontractors of larger companies. Critics say that can put some small businesses at a competitive disadvantage, because the larger companies are the ones that choose who they'll work with.

Contracting Oversight for Small Business Jobs Act

Designed to fight fraud in contracting.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.
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