U.S. Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) today introduced a bill that would help create new jobs by expanding federal contracting opportunities for small businesses trying to recover from the recent recession. Companion legislation is being introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL).
The Expanding Opportunities for Main Street Act would raise the value of federal contracts that are set aside for small businesses to $500,000 and would increase the government-wide small business contracting goal. The bill would also make the process more transparent by requiring that federal entities explain in writing why a small business was not awarded a contract.
In New Mexico, small businesses would benefit through additional opportunities for contracts with federal entities like Los Alamos and Sandia National Laboratories, the Waste Isolation Pilot Project in Carlsbad and numerous military bases across the state.
“Small businesses owners in New Mexico are often frustrated with the federal contracting process. They tell me it’s too complex, too difficult to navigate and places them at a disadvantage against larger firms,” Udall said. “This bill will help New Mexico small businesses create jobs while benefiting from federal entities in our own backyard.”
“With respect to the economy, when middle-class workers catch a cold, youth, ethnic minorities and others who struggle on the economic margins of our economy get pneumonia. With the introduction of these two important pieces of legislation, I am signaling to my House colleagues, the Obama Administration and, indeed, to the nation that our young people and America’s innovative, small business leaders must be a top priority in all of our job creation efforts. Their interests simply cannot wait. The legislation I’ve introduced today, in partnership with my friend Tom Udall, in the Senate, represents a strong, comprehensive step forward at a time when our nation needs it most,” Rush said.
The legislation also provides needed assistance to minority-owned businesses, which employ nearly 5 million people and could employ even more with the proper resources by establishing a database of minority owned firms which federal contractors may use when looking at subcontractors.
The bill is supported by the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
“Our entrepreneurs still struggle to obtain federal contracts and thus we believe that legislation such as the Expanding Opportunities for Main Street Act is a critical step for addressing this challenge,” Javier Palomarez, President and CEO of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce said in a letter supporting the legislation.