Passed in the House: Unlocking Opportunities for Small Businesses Act of 2019

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For small businesses hoping to unlock more opportunities to win prime contracts with federal agencies, there may be some good news from Washington. On January 8, 2020, a bill entitled, “H.R.5146 Unlocking Opportunities for Small Businesses Act of 2019,” passed the House of Representatives, and was read in the Senate the following day.

The purpose of the bill, provided on, is as follows: “To amend the Small Business Act to require contracting officers to take a small business concern’s past performance as part of a joint venture into account when evaluating the small business concern, and for other purposes.”

H.R.5146, sponsored by Representative Jim Hagedorn [R-MN-1] and cosponsored by Representative Dwight Evans [D-PA-3], seeks to fix a growing issue concerning the small business government contracting industry. Currently, small business contractors experience a great deal of difficulty expanding their scope of work, since the government will not yet officially consider past performance relevant if the work was not performed as the prime contractor. The current landscape is such that small businesses are joining together more frequently to form stronger, more competitive entities for entering the federal marketplace seeking to win government contracts. This bill aims to catch up to the times, requiring work done within these joint ventures to be considered for future competitive contracts.

This bill is the latest in the increased effort by the U.S. government to help small businesses remain competitive in the government contracting market. Legislation in the Senate (S-3038) seeks to help though greater use of Small Business Association programs and reducing barriers, and the President has signed into law (P.L. 116-103), which standardizes the financial data which agencies will use in the award process.

It is encouraging to observe such legislature achieving success. The economy may be doing well and employment situation figures may be impressive, but it is important the note that when small businesses thrive, everybody wins.

Author: Paul McVeigh