The federal government awarded 24.99 percent of its prime contract dollars to small firms during fiscal 2014, the largest percentage on record. But Congressional overseers called the administration’s statistics misleading since they do not account for tens of billions of dollars in federal spending.
It only took 15 years for the Office of Federal Procurement Policy to issue guidance for agencies on how best to use reverse auctions. And when OFPP finally did on June 2, it was disappointing to say the least.
Reverse auctions can save your agency money, but only if it uses them the right way. That's according to Dan Gordon, a procurement professor at George Washington University and former administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, who testified about reverse auctions to the House Small Business committee. On In Depth with Francis Rose, he explained why he told the committee agencies should ask themselves a few questions before they decide to use reverse auctions.
Reverse auctions are overused, underregulated and might be a monopoly, according to recent testimony on Capitol Hill.
A new bill from the House Small Business Committee chairman would require SBA to develop a new methodology to measure how effective agencies are in ensuring small firms receive prime and subcontracts awards.
Reps. Jeff Miller (R-Fla.) and Sam Graves (R-Mo.), chairmen of the Veterans Affairs and Small Business committees, respectively, wrote to Anne Rung, OFPP administrator, saying agencies still are "misusing" reverse auctions to "evade competition and compliance with other procurement regulations."
The Small Business Administration received more than 200 comments about a proposed rule to eliminate the exception to how IT value-added resellers are classified as small contractors. Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.), chairman of the Small Business Committee, wrote a letter to SBA asking for the rule to be retracted and improved.
For the first time since 2005, the government awarded at least 23 percent of all prime contracts to small businesses. The Small Business Administration reported Friday small firms received $83 billion out of a possible $355 billion in 2013.
Reps. Grace Meng and Tim Walberg introduce a provision in the Defense authorization bill to require GAO to study the impact of strategic sourcing on small businesses. GSA also is facing more than two dozen protests over its current and future office supplies contracts and now OASIS.
SBA said GSA's impact analysis failed on two main accounts. SBA said it disagreed on GSA's claim that OS3 is a follow-on contract to OS2 and therefore is not a consolidation of contract requirements subject to the provisions of the Small Business Act. SBA also said GSA's argument that it is "contrary to law" to provide an economic analysis on the consequences of small business on a consolidated contract is wrong.
The chairman of the Small Business Committee plans to introduce two bills today. One will increase the governmentwide small business prime contracting goal to 25 percent from 23 percent. The other focuses on contract bundling and data transparency.
The Veterans Affairs Department's decision comes as lawmakers are putting this acquisition concept under more scrutiny. House Veterans Affairs and Small Business Committee lawmakers question whether agencies are getting the best prices and whether they are sacrificing competition. GAO, other experts say OFPP needs to develop a governmentwide policy for reverse auctions.
House Small Business and Veterans Affairs committee members plan to introduce a bill Thursday to make the service-disabled veteran-owned small business program less cumbersome, confusing and more transparent.
House Small Business Committee members introduce two bills to ban reverse auctions in many cases and mandate a two-step process to evaluate design and build procurements.