Congressman Dwight Evans (D-3rd Dist.), vice chair of the House Small Business Committee, voted to send four bipartisan bills that would help small businesses to the full House of Representatives on Wednesday, November 20.
Evans is the lead co-sponsor with Rep. Jim Hagedorn (R-Minn.) of one of the bills, the Unlocking Opportunities for Small Businesses Act (H.R. 5146).
“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and vital to helping ‘middle neighborhoods’ shift toward growth and away from blight,” he said. “I’m pleased to be the lead co-sponsor of this bipartisan bill that would help small businesses to overcome the ‘past performance’ hurdle that has unfairly kept them from competing for federal prime contracts.”
Small businesses that wish to perform as prime contractors for the federal government are often faced with a dilemma. Prime contracts are judged on the basis of “past performance,” but without the requisite work experience, small businesses can’t compete for and win prime contracts. Without winning prime contracts, they are unable to develop a record of performance that would allow them to earn a contract.
H.R. 5146 would address this by allowing small businesses to leverage past performance experience obtained as part of joint ventures and subcontracts, which otherwise wouldn’t be an option.
“I would like to commend Vice Chair Evans and Rep. Hagedorn and for their collaboration on this bill and working to make it easier for small businesses seeking to perform as prime contractors,” Small Business Committee Chairwoman Nydia Velazquez (D-N.Y.) said. “Knowing how a small business performed a contract in the past is an important indicator of a small business’ ability to successfully perform in the future. This bill would allow small businesses to leverage past performance experience obtained as part of joint ventures and subcontracts, which is an important step towards increasing opportunity.”
“This bill would unlock additional opportunities for small businesses pursuing government contracts with the Small Business Administration. I thank Representatives Hagedorn and Evans for their leadership in ensuring a level playing field for our nation’s small contractors,” Small Business Ranking Member Steve Chabot (R-Ohio) said.
“By removing this barrier to entry, we will incentivize small businesses to enter or rejoin the federal contracting community,” Hagedorn said.
“As more companies enter the federal marketplace, competition will increase and, as a result, we will see increased efficiency and better results for the American taxpayers.”
The other bills in the package would launch entrepreneurship training programs for the incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people, protect fast-growing small businesses, and lower barriers to entry for small firms in government contracting.