News Column

Defense Bill Could Harm Small Businesses

December 2, 2010



Language in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2011 might allow the Department of Defense to secretly 'blacklist' government contractors, according to American Small Business League (ASBL).

In a news release, ASBL wrote: "Small-business advocates have raised concerns that Section 815 in S3545 represents a blatant power grab placing small businesses directly in the line of fire."

The ASBL said the provisions have been criticized by Tech America and members of the Acquisition Reform Working Group ARWG.

In a report on the Authorization Act, the ARWG shared its concern about the provision: "Because exclusions will become public, government exclusion from a competition envisioned by Section 815 would be tantamount to a de facto debarment without any due process for the affected firm."

Specificially, the ASBL believes passage of the bill with exclusion language would serious harm America's 27 million small business and lead to:

-- Contractors being secretly "blacklisted" and excluded from DoD contracting programs.

-- "De facto" debarments of federal contractors without due process.

The ASBL also says the provision does not require notification or justification of its decisions. The provision also would make decisions exempt from Freedom of Information requests, protests at the Government Accountability Office, or actions brought in the federal court system, according to the ASBL.

Source: HispanicBusiness (c) 2010. All rights reserved.

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