House panel puts anti-bundling bill on fast track
- By Matthew Weigelt
- Apr 19, 2007
Seeing little progress on federal contracts going to small firms,
the House Small Business Committee has set new small-business
contracting legislation on a fast track to passage.
committee plans to mark up the Small Business Fairness in Contracting
Act (H.R. 1873) on April 24. The bill would require federal procurement
officials to assess the effect new contracts would have on
The bill is intended to discourage
the practice of contract bundling, in which an agency, looking to
streamline the procurement process, combines multiple procurement
requirements into a single contract. The problem is that such megadeals
generally exceed the reach of small businesses.
The bill would also require the federal government to spend 30
percent of its contract dollars with small businesses, compared to 23
percent under existing procurement rules.
Largely due to contracting bundling, the federal government failed
to reach its small-business goals in 2006, costing the small-business
community $4.5 billion in business, said Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-N.Y.),
the committee’s chairwoman.
On a larger scale, the total value of federal contracts has
increased by 60 percent over the past five years, while the number of
contracts has declined by 55 percent, according to the committee.
said she initially was excited about the Bush administration’s goal of
unbundling contracts. Her feelings have changed, she said, because
administration officials have not followed through, and they have not
“This is very frustrating,” she said after the
hearing. “Members get frustrated because [the administration] cannot
provide real answers.”