Last fall, Senator Claire McCaskill (D-Mo) proposed the Fairness for Small Businesses in Federal Contracting Act that included language to replace the current North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) with one that has no more than 20 industries classified in it. The goal? To make it less burdensome for small businesses to participate in federal contracting.
While the Senator's intent may have had the best interest of small business and government in mind, I expressed my concern in the blog entry Scrap NAICS? Budget passage, subcontracting and more rank much higher for small businesses and cautioned that the quagmire resulting from such a change (as ambiguously described in the Act) could prove harmful for many companies already involved in federal contracting and those considering it, and send the federal acquisition process into a tailspin for some time to come. Additionally, there are many other more pressing situations that could likely be more easily remedied, creating a greater and more immediate mutual benefit.
While the proposed streamlining of federal business and trade functions seems to make sense, I have the same level of concern regarding the Administration returning SBA to cabinet-level. What is the anticipated benefit to the Government or Small Business of this elevation especially, if as CNBC Small Business Editor Patricia Orsini reports, SBA would no longer be in the cabinet if the proposed merger is approved by Congress?
Will any of this really make a difference for small businesses, especially those engaged in federal contracting? If so, when will it make a difference? Will this recent and the proposed merger actually do more harm than good by creating more confusion? Will it also increase the burden agencies and businesses currently face by piling on more process in an effort to streamline current processes (that already overtax the resources of these agencies and the businesses they are charged with supporting)?
I hope not.
The Chief Visionary
"The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it."
Just read the GovExec article "SBA's elevation to Cabinet-level is symbolic, experts say" and love this excerpt that confirms my thoughts (and fears):
VA's promotion may have been a mixed blessing: "They got the name change, they got the accoutrements of Cabinet status, the limousine," Light said. But the department couldn't get additional employees or funding for new signs, thanks to provisions in the elevation legislation that prohibited such expenditures.
Light said in the grand scheme of things, federal agencies are "probably better off" not receiving Cabinet-level status. "That table's not very important anymore -- we don't have Cabinet government as presidents once imagined," he said.
Here's the link: http://www.govexec.com/story_page.cfm?articleid=49775&oref=todaysnews