House committees agree on small-business procurement changes

The House Government Reform and Small Business committees have negotiated changes to several procurement provisions of legislation that reauthorizes the Small Business Administration, said Government Reform Chairman Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.). The bill can now be voted on by the full House.

Davis spoke today to information technology contractors and federal employees at FOSE, the government IT trade show produced by PostNewsweek Tech Media, which is being held this week at the Washington Convention Center. PostNewsweek Tech Media publishes Washington Technology.

The bill, H.R. 2802, reauthorizes spending for the SBA in fiscal 2004 and 2005. It was unanimously passed by the Small Business Committee in October and then referred to the Government Reform Committee, which was granted several extensions to continue reviewing the bill's procurement policy provisions.

John Brosnan, acting procurement counsel for the Government Reform Committee, said the committee objected to several provisions in the original bill, including one that would have eliminated the role of the Office of Management and Budget in contract bundling appeals. The reform committee restored OMB's role in the bill.

Brosnan said the committee objected to reserving all acquisitions under $1 million for small businesses, up from $100,000. Such a provision would be devastating to competition for government contracts, he said.

The committee also objected to giving small businesses at least 60 days to bid after an agency solicits for a bundled contract. Other vendors would get 30 days, and the committee objected to the unequal time frames, Brosnan said.

Brosnan said the committee also was more comfortable with small businesses being recertified as small every five years as opposed to annually, which the administration has proposed.

"We've gotten together with the Small Business staff, and have reached an agreement we're comfortable with and they are comfortable with," Brosnan said.

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