WASHINGTON, March 2, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — To ensure women-owned firms receive their fair share of federal government contracts, today, the U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce ( http://www.uswcc.org ) calls on President Biden to sign a single Executive Order requiring small business suppliers are included in “Category Management Best-In-Class” (BIC) contracts.
The U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce and its members call on President Biden to sign a Presidential Executive Order to specifically:
- Recognize ALL Small Business spending as BIC Tier 3, regardless of the contract vehicle.
- Add a training requirement that all agency leadership and acquisition staff must receive training on the Category Management / BIC initiative that ensures small business inclusion.
- Require that new BIC vehicle awards be made in proportion to the population (i.e., proportion of large business vs. small business awards match the business population).
In 2017 through an executive order, the federal government implemented the federal acquisition process known as “Category Management” through “Best-In-Class” solutions, which introduced the concept of “Tiered” procurements. This new and unregulated process resulted in larger contracts going to fewer and larger firms thus limiting competition to a list of preferred vendors comprising only a small percentage of the total contractor market.
A November 2020 Report released by the GAO (GAO-21-40) on the impact of Category Management, found, “Of the tens of thousands of contracts eliminated by category management, 53% of them were small business contracts.”
“This anti-competitive contracting practice known as Category Management / Best-in-Class Contracts was quickly, and without thorough consideration and regulatory authority, inserted in front of the normal federal acquisition process – seemingly as a predicate to the existing Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) and the requirements of the Small Business Act,” states Margot Dorfman, CEO of the U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce. “The lack of competition in this new, unregulated process drives up costs, and excludes small business thereby leaving out the vital contributions small business suppliers bring including agility, innovation, service, etc. Further, the nuanced needs of federal agencies and regions are ignored, which leads to challenges and extra costs. Local economies suffer as small businesses are locked out of key business opportunities — which starts a downward spiral negatively impacting the industrial base and local economies.”
“Women-owned firms have been reporting for decades the difficulties they have accessing government contracts,” continues Dorfman. “When small business suppliers depart from government contracting (either by choice or due to lack of opportunity), America suffers. Small businesses are the heartbeat of economic recovery. They are widely known to employ local talent, reinvest profits near to home to spur economic development, and bring growth and innovation to their communities.”
The U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce (USWCC) is the leading advocate for women on economic and leadership issues. As the economic leader for women, the USWCC creates opportunities, drives progress, advocates, and provides tools and solutions to support the economic growth of women across America. The USWCC ( http://www.uswcc.org/ ) is a not-for-profit 501(c)6 organization founded in 2001 with over 500,000 members; its headquarters offices are located in Washington, D.C. Contact the USWCC at (202) 607-2488.
Contact: Charmagne Manning, [email protected], (202) 607-2488.
SOURCE U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce