Congressman Bill Owens joined with Small Business Committee Chairman Sam Graves (R-MO) today to bolster small businesses and ensure the federal government makes good on its promise to foster an environment in which entrepreneurs can hire and expand. Owens and Graves introduced H.R. 3850, the Government Efficiency through Small Business Contract Act of 2012, legislation that holds agencies accountable if they do not reach congressionally mandated goals to award federal contracts to small businesses.
“This legislation will ensure that Washington lives up to its promise to give local small businesses the opportunity to put the unemployed back to work,” said Owens. “I am glad to see a bipartisan effort that builds on my previous efforts to hold federal agencies accountable for failing to meet their obligations to local small business owners.”
H.R. 3850 increases the current government-wide small business contracting goal from 23 percent to 25 percent and introduces penalties on agencies and their executives if these goals are not met. For example, agencies that fail to report their contract awards 120 days after the end of the prior fiscal year would be barred from carrying out any pilot programs in the subsequent year. Additionally, senior executives at federal agencies that fail to achieve their small business procurement goal would be barred from taking sabbaticals the following year or receive any incentive awards.
H.R. 3850 builds on a similar effort from Owens, who introduced H.R. 3779, the Small Business Growth and Federal Accountability Act, on January 19th. Owens’ legislation would decrease an agency’s procurement budget by 10 percent each year it fails to meet its small business contracting goals.
Congress set a goal in 1997 that 23 percent of all federal contracts would be awarded to small businesses. While each federal agency is permitted to set its own small business procurement goals in consultation with the Small Business Administration (SBA), the sum of all agencies’ goals must add up to 23 percent. However, federal agencies typically fail to meet their small business contracting goals and there are currently no penalties for these shortfalls.
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