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March has been a busy month for the House Small Business Committee. In the last month, the committee has reported out over ten separate pieces of legislation affecting small business government contractors. What is particularly noteworthy is that all these bills have bipartisan support. Set forth below is a summary of the reported bills:

§ Government Efficiency Through (GET) Small Business Contracting Act of 2012(HR 3850)
o   Raises government-wide small business contracting goal from 23% to 25%
o   Withholds certain senior agency officials’ benefits (sabbaticals or incentive awards) if agency small business goals are not met
o   Establishes a government-wide small business subcontracting goal of 40%
§ Small Business Advocate (SBAA) Act of 2012 (HR 3851)
o   Elevates the position of OSDBU Director to a “senior acquisition leader” position in an agency and prohibits the Director from holding any other agency position
§ Early Stage Small Business Contracting Act of 2012(HR 3987)
o   Increases access to “early stage businesses” (less than 15 employees or less than $1 million annual receipts) by authorizing sole source awards and set-asides to same
§ Small Business Procurement Improvement Act(HR 4118)
o   Requires federal agencies to include small businesses in multiple-award contract awards “to the maximum extent practicable”
o   Requires agencies to set-aside for small businesses any acquisition above $2,500 and below $200,000 (currently rule requires mandatory set-asides above Micro Purchase threshold of $3,000 and at or below the Simplified Acquisition Threshold of $150,000)
§ Subcontracting Transparency and Reliability (STAR) Act of 2012(HR 3893)
o   Requires agencies to publish their insourcing processes
o   Gives small businesses standing to challenge agency insourcing decisions
o   Changes standard for Limitations on Subcontracting from “cost of contract performance” to “ amount paid” to small business prime
§ Small Business Opportunity Act of 2012(HR 3980)
o   Allows OSDBUs and PCRs to be involved early in an agency’s acquisition planning process
o   Requires agency acquisition plans to address utilization of small businesses
§ Building Better Business Partnerships Act of 2012(HR 3985)
o   Requires SBA to oversee all civilian agency mentor-protégé programs in order to promote “portability of agreements” between the agencies
§ Small Business Protection Act of 2012(HR 3987)
o   Requires SBA to issue size standards for each five-digit code NAICS code rather than grouping individual codes together by industry (four-digit NAICS code) for size purposes
§ Contractor Opportunity Protection (COP) Act of 2012(HR 4081)
o   Provides more robust process to appeal contract bundling actions
o   Creates third party arbiter of bundling actions
§ Contracting Oversight for Small Business Jobs Act of 2012(HR 4206)
o   Increases fraud penalties associated with abuse of small business contracting programs
o   Provides a “safe harbor” provision to protect firms that attempt to comply in good faith by getting a legal opinion
§ Women’s Procurement Program Improvement Act of 2012(HR 4203)
o   Allows for sole source contract awards
o   Requires SBA to participate in certification of WOSBs
o   Remove caps on contracting limits
Note: Earlier this month the Senate Committee on Small Business introduced the Fairness in Women-Owned Small Business Contracting Act of 2012 (S. 2172) which also allows for sole source contract awards and removes the current caps on contracts that can be awarded under the program
Other legislation:
§ Improving Contracting Opportunities for Veteran-Owned Small Business Act of 2012(HR 4048)
o   Reported by the House Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity
o   Modifies the Veterans First statute to refer explicitly to acquisitions from the Federal Supply Schedules as a method for the VA to meets its small business procurement goalsI’ll be posting a blog soon on what’s HOT and what’s NOT on this list.