Congress: TSA must toe small-biz line

The Transportation Security Administration now must adhere to the same small-business procurement goals as do other federal agencies, according to a provision adopted by Congress in the fiscal 2007 homeland security appropriations bill. TSA previously was exempted.

Under the new law, which President Bush has signed, TSA must aim to award to small businesses 23 percent of its prime contracts, the federal government's mandated goal.

Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), ranking member of the Senate Small Business Committee, attached the provision to the appropriations bill. It reverses a TSA exemption to the Small Business Act that had been in effect since the agency was formed following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

"By every account, TSA has abused procurement privileges granted in the aftermath of Sept. 11," Kerry wrote in a press release. "As a result, capable, qualified small businesses are left out of the federal procurement process.

"When it comes to ensuring that America's small businesses receive the opportunities they need to grow and succeed, it's time to bring the Bush administration in check. That starts today at TSA," he wrote.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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