October 29, 2019

Duckworth, Risch Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Promote Small Business Contracting Throughout the Federal Government


[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – U.S Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Jim Risch (R-ID) today introduced bipartisan legislation that would strengthen the Offices of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU) which exist within each federal agency to maximize contracting opportunities for small businesses. Since many federal agencies have failed to fully empower their OSDBUs and comply with the Small Business Act, the Small Business Contracting Accountability Act would require those non-compliant agencies to submit a report to the House and Senate Committees on Small Business and Entrepreneurship detailing why the agency is not compliant, as well as the specific actions that the agency will take to comply. Duckworth serves on the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship.

“Small businesses are our nation’s job creators and primary investors in our local economies, which is why it’s critical they have a strong voice within our federal agencies,” Duckworth said. “I’m glad to be working with Senator Risch on this bipartisan bill that would help enforce existing law designed to enable small businesses across the country better access contracting opportunities with the federal government.” 

“Many Federal agencies are required by law to maximize opportunities to contract with America’s small businesses. When agency officials fail to comply with the law, they should have to answer to the authorizing committees,” said Risch. “I am proud to introduce the Small Business Contracting Accountability Act of 2019, a bipartisan, common-sense approach that will level the playing field for small businesses and hold Washington bureaucrats accountable for failing to meet reasonable standards.”

Under the Small Business Contracting Accountability Act, any non-compliant agency would have 120 days upon the enactment of this legislation to submit their report, or 120 days after the Government Accountability Office (GAO) submits another report on agency OSDBU compliance to the Committees, whichever is later. If GAO issues another of these reports, this legislation will also apply should the GAO find agencies non-compliant. GAO is an independent, nonpartisan agency that provides Congress and federal agencies with objective, reliable information.

Duckworth has been a strong advocate for small businesses as a U.S. Senator. Earlier this month, Duckworth convened a U.S. Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee Field Hearing in Chicago to highlight the barriers faced by small business owners of color and women entrepreneurs. Duckworth introduced the Microloan Program Enhancement Act earlier this year to help more small business – particularly women, Veterans, low-income and minority entrepreneurs – secure the financing they need to grow their businesses and create good-paying jobs in their communities. She has also previously introduced legislation to make it easier for small businesses to borrow capital from community banks and help female entrepreneurs grow their companies.

Duckworth’s Veteran Small Business Enhancement Act, which helps Veteran small business owners to acquire equipment and personal property that the federal government no longer has a use for by adding Veterans to the list of eligible recipients for federal surplus personal property, which already includes women and minority small business owners as well as Veterans Service Organizations, was signed into law in January of this year.