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For Small Business Week, Udall, Bonamici, Wyden Introduce Legislation to Increase Federal Contracts for Small Businesses, Prioritize Veteran and Women Owned Businesses

May 4, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON – Today, in honor of Small Business Week, U.S. Senators Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and U.S. Representative Suzanne Bonamici (D-Ore.) introduced companion bills in the Senate and House to increase the number of small businesses that are granted federal contracts and establish a higher priority for veteran- and women-owned businesses.

The Assuring Contracting Equity (ACE) Act of 2017 takes several steps to raise the Small Business Administration (SBA) contracting goals and increase transparency in the process by:

  • Raising the SBA's government-wide small business contracting level to 25 percent (from 23 percent).
  • Increasing the contracting goal to 10 percent (from 5 percent) for businesses owned by veterans, women and economically disadvantaged individuals.
  • Making the reporting requirements more transparent and prohibiting reporting practices that artificially inflate the appearance of contracting to minority-owned businesses.
  • And requiring the SBA to disclose the percentage of contracts that are awarded to small business from all federal contracting dollars and consider past subcontracting compliance in award decisions.

"Small businesses in New Mexico are the engine that drives our state's economy, and I'm proud to join them, and the thousands of entrepreneurs who create jobs and keep our communities strong, in celebrating National Small Business Week and introducing this bicameral bill," Udall said. "Winning a federal government contract can provide small business greater opportunities for growth. This legislation gives these businesses — especially those owned by women and veterans — a better shot at tapping into federal awards. Small businesses grow our economy, and we should do everything we can to help them grow their businesses."

“As I tour small businesses in NW Oregon, I am constantly reminded of their contributions to our communities and the economy,” Bonamici said. “But too often our small businesses, particularly those owned by veterans, women, and other disadvantaged groups, can’t access or are unable to take advantage of federal contracting opportunities. This bipartisan legislation raises the contracting goals and levels the playing field for small business to compete. More contracts will empower small businesses to grow and hire more workers, which is good for the workers, the businesses, and the economy.”

“Small businesses, particularly businesses owned by women and minority entrepreneurs, are driving American innovation and creating good-paying jobs in Oregon and across the country,” Wyden said. “To allow these red-white-and-blue small businesses the best chance to flourish, Congress must do everything possible to give them a fair shake. That’s what the ACE Act is all about – leveling the playing field for small businesses to have an equal shot in the competition for federal contracts.”

The bill is endorsed by the US Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the Women Construction Owners and Executives, the National Association of Minority Contractors, and the National Association of Women Business Owners.