Believe me when I tell you this is a tough one for me. I find myself in the most uncomfortable position of cheering for an "Act of Congress" to occur for a piece of legislation that could have significantly far-reaching benefits for small federal contractors.
If you have not heard, Representatives Anna Eshoo (CA) and Gerry Connolly (VA) have introduced legislation with the primary focus of creating the Digital Government Office to manage IT systems development in one place for all agencies. I don't have a valuable opinion on that, but I do on the language that comes next, "...the office would also increase opportunities for small businesses in the contracts." Like you, I've been around this town long enough that promissory phrases like that no longer cause me to get excited.
However, there is language in there that did cause me to jump up out of my seat and send a quick note to both Eshoo and Connolly. What is it? "Enable more small businesses to bid on federal IT contracts without
having to spend thousands on compliance costs by lifting the threshold
for a streamlined contracting process from $150,000 to $500,000." This is me picking my jaw up off the floor.
That streamlined contracting process would be my beloved Simplified Acquisitions that account for tens of billions in spending annually, with half or thereabouts going to small business. One of the reasons I'm excited is because I've written about this very thing (raising the threshold to $500K) religiously since 2007. I'm sure there are at least a dozen pieces I've written on the subject (to include the potential upside for the government such as achieving the Small Business Contracting Goals) and I've discussed it on a number of radio interviews.
But, as excited as I am at the prospect of this happening, I still want more (greedy S.O.B., right?). I suggested to both Representatives they should also include language that applies the small business reservation to Simplified Acquisitions when the exception in FAR Subpart 13.5 is applied, raising the Simplified Acquisition Threshold to $6.5M (from $50K) for "certain commercial items." That means these enhanced threshold buys would also be weighted in favor of small business.
As I've offered in previous blogs on this topic, either or both of these going into effect would be change I and America's Small Businesses could believe in, and grow with.
Now let's see if we can get someone to address the growing trend of RFI TMI which is effectively doubling the cost of doing business for industry on certain opportunities.
Peace.The Chief Visionary
"The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it."