8 May 2007 — Des Plaines (IL): TriMega Purchasing Association is playing a part in influencing US legislation supporting independent office products dealers in the face of the pass through problem by testifying before the US House of Representatives’ Small Business Committee.
Grady Taylor, EVP, said: "This is an exciting time for small business. We have a real champion in the House who is committed to levelling the playing field for small businesses when it comes to conducing commerce with the Federal government. Being able to state a position on behalf of all dealers in front of Congress is a step in the right direction."
Last month’s hearing underscored the need for the Federal government to level the playing field for small businesses looking for opportunities in the federal market.
Taylor added: "This hearing highlights just how important the need for legislation in this area is. Small businesses have for far too long played by a set of rules favouring the large corporate companies in this country. Today, Small Business Committee Chairwoman Nydia Velazquez is taking real steps to giving small businesses a fair shot at doing business with the Federal government."
To help achieve that level playing field, Velazquez is proposing introducing legislation that would include:
• Contract bundling definition – to clarify the definition of contract bundling to ensure that additional contracts are reviewed for their impact on small companies
• Third party arbitration – to allow for OMB review of agency procurement decisions related to small businesses. This would allow the OMB to mitigate a dispute between SBA and the buying agency regarding small business procurement actions
• Standing for appeals – would be expanded to businesses and trade organizations that are negatively impacted by agency procurement decisions
• Small business contracting goal – to increase the government-wide small business goal to 30 percent
• Small business set-aside parameters – to raise the upper limit of the small business set-aside amount to the simplified acquisition threshold
• Subcontracting – will require prime contractors to report small business subcontracting (at all tiers) as a percentage of the total dollar amount of the contract award
• National database – will require the SBA to contact, within 30 days, any small business that enters its data into the Central Contractor Registry (or its successor)
• Protest notification – will require SBA to work with federal agencies to ensure that businesses that failed to prevail in a size protest are flagged as such in the Central Contract Registry (or its successor)
• Penalties for false certification – this bill will consider strengthening civil penalties against any firm that falsely claims status as a small business or that falsely claims certification under any of the SBA’s procurement programmes.
Taylor continued: "Independents have battled the myths for years that they can’t compete against the publicly-owned, national players in our industry or that they can’t meet the agencies’ needs. This is simply not the case if you look at our track record. We’ve proved we can compete and meet the government’s requirements. We just need a fairer set of rules in place to level the playing field for all."