May 28, 2010

SENATORS AIM TO INCLUDE SMALL BUSINESS TRAINING IN FEDERAL CONTRACTING CERTIFICATION PROCESS

Washington, D.C. - U.S. Senators Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD) Olympia J. Snowe (R-ME), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), last night introduced the Small Business Training in Federal Contracting Certification Act (S. 3444) to ensure that contracting officials successfully complete small business training prior to receiving certification in Federal contracting. 

"Small businesses will drive our nation's economic recovery because they create the majority of jobs in our communities," said Senator Cardin, a member of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship.  "But many small firms, including veteran-owned, women-owned and minority-owned firms have been locked out of competing for valuable federal contracts because procurement officers haven't been trained to work with them.  This legislation builds a solution into the core training curriculum for federal contracting officials.  If we can level the playing field for small businesses, they will be able to more fully participate in our economic recovery."
"During these devastating economic times, with small business owners struggling to retain jobs much less create new jobs, it is paramount that small businesses have a fair opportunity to contract with federal Agencies, given the federal government's position as the largest buyer of goods and services in the world," said Senator Snowe, Ranking Member of the Committee.  "Our legislation would help the government to meet or exceed its 23 percent statutory contracting goal for small businesses - which it has yet to achieve - because it would require investing time and training in contracting officials who make the ultimate determination on contract awards be trained in small business procurement issues."

"Federal agencies have the ability to have a large impact on our economic recovery by investing in America's small businesses," said Senator Landrieu, Chair of the Committee.  "By increasing contracting opportunities to small businesses by just 1 percent, we can create more than 100,000 new jobs for Americans still out of work.  It is important for the federal government to meet its goal for small businesses receiving contracts and this legislation is a step in the right direction to making sure that happens."

The Small Business Training in Federal Contracting Certification Act builds upon the foundation laid in the Small Business Contracting Revitalization Act (S. 2989), which passed unanimously out of the Small Business Committee on March 4.  That legislation would also require agencies to consider small businesses when placing orders on large contracts; add protections for small firms and sub-contractors; and reduce bundled contracts by reserving more contracts for small business concerns.