Reaction to new SBA regs mixed

The new regulations the Small Business Administration and the Office of Federal Procurement Policy announced Nov. 14 requiring small businesses to recertify their size status have prompted swift — and conflicting — reaction from two business advocacy groups.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce welcomed the new rules, calling the proposals “important steps toward leveling the playing field for America’s small-business owners.”

But the American Small Business League said the new regulations would allow the government to continue reporting awards to large companies as federal small-business contracts.

SBA announced this week that small businesses will be required to recertify their size on long-term contracts when a contract option is exercised, when a small business is purchased by or merged with another business, or at the end of the first five years of a contract.

SBA said the new regulation does not require terminating a contract if the small business changes size and does not require changes in the contract’s terms and conditions.

The Chamber of Commerce applauded the recertification regulation, saying in a statement that the rule should ensure that more contracts end up in small-business owners’ hands.

“Accurate accounting of small-business contracts and a measure of how federal agencies meet their goals are two of our members’ biggest concerns,” said Giovanni Coratolo, executive director of the chamber’s Council on Small Business, in the statement. “We applaud SBA for taking the initiative with these proposals.”

SBA and OFPP also announced the creation of a Small Business Procurement Scorecard for 24 federal agencies. Modeled after the President’s Management Agenda, the score card is designed to monitor each agency’s small-business goals and achievements more carefully.

ASBL President Lloyd Chapman said the SBA regulations “should be evaluated by asking one question: Will this policy allow the government to report contracts to Fortune 1000 companies as small-business awards? The answer is yes, and I’m against it.”

Chapman said SBA Administrator Steven Preston and OFPP Administrator Paul Dennett “are being deceptive. This policy was designed to help the government, not small firms.”

Chapman said the recertification policy would allow the government to continue including contracts to some of the country’s largest companies as part of its small-business contracting goals.

About the Author

David Hubler is the former print managing editor for GCN and senior editor for Washington Technology. He is freelance writer living in Annandale, Va.

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