Congress Renews Comprehensive Subcontracting Plan Test Program

The House of Representatives voted last week to renew the Pentagon’s 25-year old Comprehensive Subcontracting Plan Test program for three more years of testing despite claims from Pentagon spokeswoman Maureen Schumann stating that the Pentagon would like to see the program terminated due to a lack of any quantifiable results proving the programs efficacy. The Senate is expected to renew the Test Program by the end of the week as part of the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act (NDCA).

The Comprehensive Subcontracting Plan Test Program was set up in 1990 to “determine if comprehensive subcontracting plans on a corporate, division or plant-wide basis would lead to increased opportunities for small businesses”. Currently the program has failed to publish a report or yield any relevant data, and small business advocates charge that the Test Program’s existence is actually costing smaller companies opportunities by allowing larger firms a loophole exempting them from submitting subcontracting reports used to monitor compliance with small business goals allowing a work to get around the government wide goal of awarding 23 percent of all federal contract dollars to small business. In 2010, the American Small Business League (ASBL) launched a national campaign to potentially block the Test Program’s extension and last September Professor Charles Tiefer, one of the nation’s leading experts in federal contracting law called the program a “sham” due to the egregious lack of transparency and oversight, stating that “The program and its extension will be seriously harmful to vital opportunities for small businesses to get government contracting work.”

Last summer, chairman of the Small Business Committee, Rep. Same Graves, R-Mo, pressed for revision in the NDCA to increase transparency and accountability in the program, however Senators on the Armed Services Committee called for an end to the program entirely. The final bill, which the President is expected to sign will extend the program for another three years but will require thorough reporting in greater detail more frequently.

Government Shutdown Averted at Last Minute

“WASHINGTON” The House narrowly passed a $1.1 trillion spending package on Thursday that would fund most government operations for the fiscal year after a rancorous debate that reflected the new power held by Republicans and the disarray among Democrats in the aftermath of the midterm elections.

The accord was reached just hours before the midnight deadline, in a 219-206 vote, amid the last-minute brinkmanship and bickering that has come to mark one of Congress’s most polarized and least productive eras. The legislation now heads to the Senate, which is expected to pass it in the coming days” New York Times By ASHLEY PARKER and ROBERT PEAR DEC. 11, 2014

Avoiding Government Shutdown Likely

Action to come Thursday.

“WASHINGTON” Congressional leaders reached a deal Tuesday on a more than $1 trillion spending package that would fund most of the federal government through the current fiscal year. But because negotiations on the package dragged over policy details, House lawmakers also prepared to move on a short-term spending measure that would avert a government shutdown if Congress cannot pass the larger bill by Thursday, when the current funding expires. Even with nettlesome last-minute issues, leaders in both parties expressed confidence that they would be able to keep the government running. Lawmakers battled behind the scenes over dozens of additional policy provisions ranging from the Environmental Protection Agency’s jurisdiction over some bodies of water to the District of Columbia’s marijuana laws to matters of campaign finance. The big spending package, which congressional leaders had hoped to have ready on Monday, did not come until Tuesday evening. The final legislation would largely keep domestic funding at current levels, while providing more money to fight various crises abroad. The House is expected to vote on the package on Thursday before sending it to the Senate. The short-term measure would provide the Senate cover and avoid a government shutdown if the Senate is unable to also pass the bill that day.

The spending bill would fund nearly all of the federal government through September 2015, except for the Department of Homeland Security, which it would fund only through February, in retaliation for President Obama’s unilateral action to defer the deportation of as many as five million undocumented immigrants. Congressional Republicans plan to take up funding for the agency which has primary responsibility for carrying out the president’s immigration directive early next year, when they will control both chambers of Congress and believe they will have more leverage”-New York Times December 10, 2014