Disagreements in Washington are nothing new. But this time the topic is a little different. The following comes from the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council:
SBA recently celebrated the federal government’s achievement in exceeding contracting goals with small businesses, but members of Congress are disputing the claim. An SBA communications piece says that Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet has worked “tirelessly” to hit the goal since she took over SBA’s helm. SBA reported that 24.99% of federal contracting dollars went to small businesses in 2014, thus exceeding the 23% goal. SBA says this is the highest percentage ever reached since the goal was established in 1997.
House Small Business Committee Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH) called the report “flawed” because (according to a media release) “the SBA continues to exclude nearly $78 billion in federal contract dollars reported into the federal procurement data system, plus at least $6 billion to $10 billion that the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) illegally excluded from the database. These are dollars spent by the federal government that should be subject to small business contracting goals.
Moreover, the SBA scorecard focuses intensely on just one factor — prime contract dollars. While this is certainly an indicator, it does not represent a holistic–and more accurate–depiction of the industrial base. For example, there are 100,000 fewer contractors today than there were four years ago and the number of contract actions being awarded to small businesses has fallen by nearly 60 percent. Furthermore, the Administration is still not meeting its subcontracting goal, even though SBA lowered the goal last year.”
Senate Small Business Committee Chairman David Vitter (R-LA) has also focused on the issue of flawed reporting in small business procurement. On May 19, Chairman Vitter sent a letter to the SBA Administrator requesting detailed information about their reporting following an IG report, which found that contracts being counted towards the small business goal went to bigger businesses.