A bipartisan bill seeks to expand federal contracting opportunities for small businesses and push government to modernize acquisition processes.
The Senate passed bipartisan legislation on Thursday designed to modernize the federal acquisition process while expanding governmentwide contracting opportunities for small businesses by encouraging the implementation of innovative new systems and procedures. The legislation passed under a unanimous consent agreement.
The bipartisan group of senators who sponsored the Promoting Rigorous and Innovative Cost Efficiencies for Federal Procurement and Acquisitions (PRICE) Act, celebrated the bill as "commonsense legislation" that "will give small business owners a fair shot to win federal contracts and grow their businesses" in statements on Friday after the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee voted unanimously to approve the bill.
The PRICE Act seeks to address long-standing challenges that small businesses -- particularly those owned by women, minorities and veterans -- face while attempting to secure contract opportunities with the federal government, in part by mandating the Office of Management and Budget to share innovative best practices with federal acquisition administrators.
The bill also looks to spur acquisition process modernization across federal agencies by requiring new reports on how to improve mission outcomes and increase small business participation in government contracting.
"These businesses, which are the backbone of our economy, should never be left behind in this process," Sen. Gary Peters (D-Mich.) said in a statement. "I will work with my colleagues in the House to pass it into law as soon as possible."
Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), a member of the Senate Small Business Committee and a co-sponsor of the legislation, said the bill will help business owners "have the opportunity to compete and succeed."
The bill's sponsors say the legislation could lead to eventual cost savings for taxpayers, as government entities become more efficient in providing contracting opportunities for small businesses nationwide.
The Senate's passage of the PRICE Act follows a White House plan to steer $100 billion toward small disadvantaged businesses in part through new federal contracting opportunities. Experts previously told FCW the government will likely encounter major challenges while expanding contracting opportunities for SDBs and other small businesses as large firms and major corporations attempt to take advantage of new set-asides.