By Megan Connor
The House Small Business Committee approved legislation on March 25, 2015 to ensure more small businesses can compete for federal contracts and help save taxpayer money. H.R. 1481, The Small Contractors Improve Competition Act of 2015, proposes a series of common sense improvements to small business contracting policies to promote increased competition, a healthier industrial base, and a more cost-effective federal procurement process.
The bill is the result of a series of hearings examining small business contracting policies, including a full committee hearing in February and two subcommittee hearings in March, that further exposed how unjustified contract bundling, Administration policies devaluing small business subcontracting opportunities, and the improper use of reverse auctions are keeping small businesses from participating in the federal procurement process.
Of note, the bill would require agencies to evaluate the capabilities and past performance of joint venture members, if the joint venture itself does not have the capabilities and past performance in an offer on a bundled or consolidated contract and any multiple award contracts above the substantial bundling threshold.
Similarly, where a small business prime contractor with a proposed team of small business subcontractors submits an offer on a bundled or consolidated contract and any multiple award contracts above the substantial bundling threshold, agencies would be required to consider the capabilities and past performance of each first-tier subcontractor as the capabilities and past performance of the team.
Lastly, the bill makes clear that the nonmanufacturer rule only applies to predominantly supply contracts, but not service or construction contracts.
H.R. 1481 will now go to the House for a vote.
About the Author: Megan Connor, an associate with PilieroMazza, focuses her practice in the areas of government contracts, small business administration programs, business and corporate law, and litigation. She may be reached at [email protected].