H.R. 4332, Maximizing Small Business Competition Act of 2016

H.R. 4332

Maximizing Small Business Competition Act of 2016

Committee
Small Business

Date
April 19, 2016 (114th Congress, 2nd Session)

Staff Contact
John Huston

Floor Situation

On Tuesday, April 18, 2016, the House will consider H.R. 4332, Maximizing Small Business Competition Act of 2016, under suspension of the rules. The bill was introduced on January 6, 2016, by Rep. Trent Kelly (R-MS) and was referred to the Committee on Small Business, which considered this legislation as part of markup of H.R. 4341, which was ordered reported, as amended, by voice vote, on January 13, 2016.

Bill Summary

H.R. 4332 clarifies that the Small Business Administration (SBA) is prohibited from stopping procurement center representatives (PCRs) from reviewing certain federal procurements in an attempt to ensure that government contracts are structured in a way that maximizes opportunities for small businesses to compete.

Background

SBA’s Procurement Center Representatives (PCRs) assist small businesses in obtaining federal contracts through six regional locations across the U.S.[1] PCRs are SBA employees who are responsible for reviewing “major contracting programs,” including all acquisitions not set aside for small businesses to determine whether a set-aside is appropriate in an attempt to maximize small businesses participation in government contracts. Procurement activities generally cannot proceed with an acquisition that involves bundled requirements unless they have conducted market research and determined that bundling is “necessary and justified.”[2]

In 2012, the SBA issued a regulation prohibiting PCRs from reviewing certain bundled and consolidated contracts. This was done even though, according to the committee, many small contractors have complained that many procurement contracts were structured to minimize opportunities for small business participation. For example, the committee noted procurements where the solicitation made it impossible for small businesses to form teams and joint ventures.  H.R. 4332 prohibits the SBA from restricting the PCR review process of these contracts. 

According to the bill sponsor, “The goal of this legislation is to level the playing field and ensure small businesses have the tools they need to navigate and compete in the federal marketplace. With this legislation, we are making sure that opportunities exist for all small businesses.”[3]

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[1] See SBA website, Procurement Center Representatives
[2] See CRS Report, “Bundling and Consolidation of Contract Requirements Under the Small Business Act: Legal Overview,” August 20, 2015.
[3] See Rep. Kelly Press Release, “Kelly Legislation Included in Contracting Reform Bill,” January 13, 2016.

Cost

A Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimate is currently unavailable.

Additional Information

For questions or further information please contact John Huston with the House Republican Policy Committee by email or at 6-5539.