February 4, 2010
In February of 2008, then Senator and Presidential candidate Barack Obama promised to, "end the diversion of federal small business contracts to corporate giants." Yet to date President Obama has failed to honor that promise in the face of double-digit unemployment and current legislation in Congress that would solve the problem.
President Obama's statement was in response to a series of federal investigations which found rampant abuses in federal small business contracting programs.
Since 2003, twenty-five federal investigations have uncovered the diversion of billions of dollars a month in federal small business contracts to Fortune 500 corporations and other clearly large firms. Since taking office, Obama officials have given small business contracts to firms like Xerox, General Dynamics, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, and Northrop Grumman.
To date, President Obama has refused to propose any legislation or policy to honor that promise. As a result, the diversion of federal small business contracts to large corporations has continued.
The only legislation that has been introduced into Congress that would address the abuses is H.R. 2568, the Fairness and Transparency in Contracting Act. H.R. 2568 would immediately stop the diversion of federal small business contracts to corporate giants, and redirect billions of dollars in federal infrastructure funds to small businesses in the middle class economy. Congressman Hank Johnson (D-4-GA) introduced the bill in May of 2009. To date the bill has 20 co-sponsors.
In a statement released Thursday, U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship Chair, Mary L. Landrieu, (D-LA) said, "Government contracts are perhaps one of the easiest and most inexpensive ways the government can help immediately increase sales for America's entrepreneurs, giving them the tools they need to keep our economy strong and create jobs. By increasing contracts to small businesses by just 1 percent, we can create more than 100,000 new jobs - and today, we need those jobs more than ever."
The ASBL estimates that if President Obama issued an executive order directing federal agencies and prime contractors to halt the diversion of federal small business contracts to Fortune 500 firms and other large businesses, or pass H.R. 2568, it would increase the annual volume of contracts flowing to small businesses by well over 50 percent.