MAXIMIZING SMALL BUSINESS COMPETITION ACT OF 2016
(House of Representatives - April 19, 2016)

Text available as:

Formatting necessary for an accurate reading of this text may be shown by tags (e.g., <DELETED> or <BOLD>) or may be missing from this TXT display. For complete and accurate display of this text, see the PDF.

        
[Congressional Record Volume 162, Number 60 (Tuesday, April 19, 2016)]
[Pages H1833-H1834]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]




           MAXIMIZING SMALL BUSINESS COMPETITION ACT OF 2016

  Mr. CHABOT. Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and pass the 
bill (H.R. 4332) to amend the Small Business Act to clarify the duties 
of procurement center representatives with respect to reviewing 
solicitations for a contract or task order contract.
  The Clerk read the title of the bill.
  The text of the bill is as follows:

                               H.R. 4332

       Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of 
     the United States of America in Congress assembled,

     SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

       This Act may be cited as the ``Maximizing Small Business 
     Competition Act of 2016''.

     SEC. 2. DUTIES OF PROCUREMENT CENTER REPRESENTATIVES WITH 
                   RESPECT TO REVIEWING SOLICITATIONS FOR A 
                   CONTRACT OR TASK ORDER CONTRACT.

       Section 15(l)(2) of the Small Business Act (15 U.S.C. 
     644(l)(2)(D)) is amended--
       (1) by redesignating subparagraphs (E) through (I) as 
     subparagraphs (F) through (J), respectively; and
       (2) by inserting after subparagraph (D) the following new 
     subparagraph:
       ``(E) review any solicitation for a contract or task order 
     without regard to whether the contract or task order or part 
     of the contract or task order is set aside for small business 
     concerns, whether 1 or more contract or task order awards are 
     reserved for small business concerns under a multiple award 
     contract, or whether or not the solicitation would result in 
     a bundled or consolidated contract (as defined in subsection 
     (s)) or a bundled or consolidated task order;''.

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from 
Ohio (Mr. Chabot) and the gentlewoman from New York (Ms. Velazquez) 
each will control 20 minutes.
  The Chair recognizes the gentleman from Ohio.


                             General Leave

  Mr. CHABOT. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members may 
have 5 legislative days to revise and extend their remarks and include 
extraneous materials on the bill under consideration.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the 
gentleman from Ohio?
  There was no objection.
  Mr. CHABOT. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, the Committee on Small Business has spent this Congress 
taking a hard look at how the SBA administers its programs. Given that 
the single most common complaint I receive on Federal contracting is 
that contracts are unjustly bundled and consolidated so that small 
businesses are denied the opportunity to compete, the SBA's role in the 
process became a priority.
  The committee learned that a few years ago, the SBA essentially gave 
contracting officers a get-out-of-jail-free card on bundling and 
consolidation when it issued new regulations governing which contracts 
it would review. The SBA said that it would not review multiple award 
contracts if a single seat on the contract was reserved for a small 
business--a single seat.
  While at first this might seem like a good way to allocate resources, 
it ignores the fact that a contracting officer can now evade the SBA 
review by simply reserving one award for a small business, even if the 
small business never receives any work. It means the contracting agency 
doesn't need to do its homework on how the contract can be structured 
to maximize competition. It means small businesses are denied 
meaningful opportunities to compete for work.
  The gentleman from Mississippi (Mr. Kelly) has found a solution for 
this problem. H.R. 4332 prohibits the SBA from limiting review based on 
a so-called reserve or similar procedural measure.
  The committee has documented that over 25 percent of small businesses 
previously engaged in Federal contracting have exited the marketplace 
since 2012. Ensuring that contracts aren't rigged to prevent their 
participation is one of many steps the Small Business Committee is 
examining to rebuild our industrial base.
  This legislation was included as part of a larger bill that passed 
the Small Business Committee in January and received bipartisan 
support. I would urge my colleagues to support and pass H.R. 4332.
  I reserve the balance of my time.
  Ms. VELAZQUEZ. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may 
consume.
  I rise in support of H.R. 4332, the Maximizing Small Business 
Competition Act of 2016. Purchasing more than $400 billion in goods and 
services annually, the U.S. Government remains a consistent and 
reliable client for all businesses.
  The Small Business Act requires that small businesses have a fair 
opportunity to compete for Federal contracts. To help facilitate awards 
to small firms, the act created a position of procurement center 
representatives, or PCRs. PCRs are placed throughout the country to 
monitor agencies' major buying activities, with the main goal of 
increasing the small business share of Federal procurement awards and 
ensuring that a fair portion of awards go to small businesses of all 
types.
  These representatives are tasked with various duties, including 
initiating and recommending small businesses set-aside contracts. If 
the PCR feels that a contract or a portion of a contract can be set 
aside, he or she can file an appeal to an agency. However, due to 
decisions made internally at SBA, PCRs are no longer required to

[[Page H1834]]

review proposed solicitations that already include a small business 
set-aside. Thus, there would be no opportunity for them to file an 
appeal. As a result, an agency can get away with setting aside the bare 
minimum for small businesses without having a solicitation reviewed by 
the PCR, which deprives many small businesses of potential 
opportunities.

                              {time}  1530

  This has been particularly harmful with larger contracts that have 
been bundled or consolidated. For example, at the General Services 
Administration, we have seen large contracts worth billions of dollars 
not receive PCR review. A review could have opened up more of the 
contracts to small businesses.
  The Maximizing Small Business Competition Act of 2016, introduced by 
Mr. Kelly of Mississippi, seeks to remedy the problem created by the 
SBA's decision to limit PCR reviews.
  The bill would allow PCRs to review contracts regardless of whether 
the contract already includes a set-aside or partial set-asides for 
small businesses.
  We cannot accept the bare minimum from agencies regarding contracting 
opportunities for small businesses. If PCRs see that an agency can 
include more small firms, they should be allowed to appeal the agency.
  Therefore, Mr. Speaker, I ask my fellow Members to support this bill.
  I reserve the balance of my time.
  Mr. CHABOT. Mr. Speaker, I yield such time as he may consume to the 
gentleman from Mississippi (Mr. Kelly) who in a relatively short period 
of time in this Congress is already showing considerable initiative and 
has taken a leadership role in the committee.
  Mr. KELLY of Mississippi. Mr. Speaker, small business are mom-and-pop 
stores. They are contractors. They are all kinds of people across my 
district located on Main Street. They are families, they are veterans, 
and they are individuals in the First District of Mississippi and all 
across this great Nation.
  Small businesses are the heart and soul of local and rural economies, 
especially in places in rural districts like my district.
  H.R. 4332, Maximizing Small Business Competition Act of 2016, is part 
of an ongoing effort of the Small Business Committee to provide 
opportunities for small businesses and to promote greater 
accountability from the Federal Government.
  The purpose of the SBA procurement center representatives is to 
review contracts across the government and make sure they are 
structured in a way that maximizes opportunities for small businesses 
to compete.
  Unfortunately, the SBA changed their rules to say that, if a contract 
was restricted to small businesses in whole or in part, procurement 
center representatives would no longer review the contract.
  This rule change has given agencies a way to get around small 
business administrative review. This rule change has led to contracts 
being consolidated or bundled, thus limiting opportunity for hundreds 
of small businesses to compete for work with the Federal Government.
  H.R. 4332, the Maximizing Small Business Competition Act of 2016, 
provides a solution. This legislation makes clear that Small Business 
Administration procurement center representatives have the ability to 
review contracts, regardless of whether they are designated for award 
to small businesses, if the procurement center representative believes 
the requirement can be structured to improve small-business 
competition.
  This legislation helps to ensure that there are not missed 
opportunities for small businesses contracting with the Federal 
Government.
  Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the assistance and leadership shown by my 
chairman, Chairman Chabot, and the bipartisan working relationship with 
Ranking Member Velazquez in bringing this bill to the floor. I 
appreciate my colleagues' consideration and support of H.R. 4332.
  Ms. VELAZQUEZ. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself the balance of my time.
  Mr. Speaker, PCRs are the first line of offense and defense when 
ensuring small businesses get their fair share of Federal contracts.
  It is troubling that SBA has limited the ability of these 
professionals to oversee contracts. This decision could result in small 
firms not receiving the maximum contracting opportunities.
  Currently, if a contracting officer sets aside 5 percent of the 
contract for service-disabled, veteran-owned small businesses, PCRs are 
not reviewing these applications. A review could find that more could 
be set aside for these small businesses or perhaps other small-business 
groups.
  This bill ensures that PCRs are seeking out additional opportunities 
for small business and not relying on contracting officers to guarantee 
that these businesses are afforded their fair share of prime contracts.
  Mr. Speaker, once again I urge my colleagues to support this measure.
  I yield back the balance of my time.
  Mr. CHABOT. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
  Mr. Speaker, in closing, allowing small businesses the opportunity to 
compete for contracts is simply common sense. Competition encourages 
innovation, lower prices, and job creation.
  This bill will alleviate an unnecessary barrier to small-business 
competition. H.R. 4332 removes a regulatory hurdle. I urge my 
colleagues to vote to suspend the rules and pass H.R. 4332.
  Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.
  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The question is on the motion offered by the 
gentleman from Ohio (Mr. Chabot) that the House suspend the rules and 
pass the bill, H.R. 4332.
  The question was taken; and (two-thirds being in the affirmative) the 
rules were suspended and the bill was passed.
  A motion to reconsider was laid on the table.

                          ____________________