Getting from SHALL to DID
Every year, it seems, Congress takes on a new effort to increase small business access to federal contracting dollars. Most of the efforts fail, or get watered down enough so they are rendered ineffective or killed off. Congress, burns lots of energy and pays tremendous lip service when it comes to this topic. The result continues to be an abysmal return on investment for many American taxpayers and many small businesses.
I have a suggestion. It's one that requires very little effort on the part of Congress (if any), provides great benefit to a number of communities around our Nation, and is one that generally mimics the intent and efforts of many federal agencies. That suggestion is to capitalize on FAR Part 13, the Simplified Acquisition Procedures. This is the streamlined purchasing method accounting for $25 billion in obligations in each of the last few fiscal years.
To date, small business concerns take roughly sixty percent of the obligations made between the Micro-Purchase Threshold (MPT) of $10,000, and the Simplified Acquisition Threshold (SAT) of $250,000. In a given fiscal year, more than fifty-five thousand small businesses split the $15 billion pot of Simplified contract obligations awarded to them. This leaves the rest to be divvied up by 22,000 Other Than Small Business Concerns. What about a plan to get those dollars into the hands of America's Economic Engine? The plan already exists. After all, the policy in FAR Part 13 states:
"Acquisitions of supplies or services that have an anticipated dollar value
above the micro-purchase threshold, but at or below the
simplified acquisition threshold, shall be set aside for small business concerns."
Think about the number of jobs created, and the positive impacts on communities home to these companies, when agencies get the other forty percent or $10 billion in Simplified Acquisition spending into the coffers of U.S. small businesses.
One more question before we wrap. How do we get from shall be set-aside for small business to did set-aside for small business? Inquiring minds want to know.
Peace, Health, and Success,