Obama pledges small business reform

Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), a candidate for his party's presidential nomination, wants to ensure that federal contracting dollars intended for small businesses go to those businesses, according to a statement the candidate posted on his Web site.

Obama's statement was part of a news release from the American Small Business League about the group's endorsement of Obama. In the release, posted at the site, Obama said, "Over half of all Americans work for a small business. Small businesses are the backbone of our nation's economy and we must protect this great resource. It is time to end the diversion of federal small business contracts to corporate giants."

Several studies have shown billions of dollars in set-aside contracts ending up in the coffers of large companies, for a number of reasons. The Small Business Administration enacted a rule in 2007 intended to end one major cause by requiring small companies to recertify their small business status when they get acquired. If they no longer qualify as a small business, their contracts no longer count as small business credit for agencies.

But the rule change doesn't address other possible reasons for the diversion of contract revenues, and the issue remains a high priority for the ASBL and other advocates.

"I am so tired of being disappointed by our elected officials," said Lloyd Chapman, president of the ASBL. "For the first time in many years I am genuinely excited about this election. In my life, I have never been more excited about any politician than I am about Barack Obama. I believe that he holds the key to a new future for all Americans. I believe that with Sen. Obama in the White House, Americans are going to be more proud of this country than they have ever been in their lives."

Obama faces rival Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) in a closely contested primary race.

About the Author

Technology journalist Michael Hardy is a former FCW editor.

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