Alaskan Congressman Don Young won a victory for the Alaska Native contracting program and other Alaska small business owners last night in H.R. 1, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The Senate version of H.R. 1 included a provision that appeared to prohibit the use of programs administered by the SBA that are designed for procurement through minority-owned business enterprises, women-owned businesses, Veteran and Service Disabled Veteran programs, HUBZone and Small Business Administration 8(a) programs. Rep. Young worked with Members on the other side of the aisle to make the case for these programs, and was able to get the provision pulled from the bill.
“I was approached by members of the Alaskan Federation of Native with concerns about this provision,” said Rep. Young. “I told them that no matter if I supported this bill or not, I would make sure they were not hurt by it. These programs are a success and are working just as Congress intended. Through these programs, community based projects function as an economic driver for Alaska Natives and Alaska small businesses, and empower organizations to provide benefits to entire communities and regions throughout our state. Small business makes up the majority of employers in Alaska; they are vital to the growth and development of our economy. There are over 5,000 American Indian and Alaska Native owned businesses, and the numbers are continually growing. As I said, regardless of my feelings for the bill, I would make sure Alaskans were not hurt by it, and that’s why I fought to get this changed.”
The original provision read as follows:
PROHIBITION ON NO-BID CONTRACTS AND EARMARKS
Sec. 1608. (a) Notwithstanding any other provision of this Act, none of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available by this Act may be used to make any payment in connection with a contract unless the contract is awarded using competitive procedures in accordance with the requirements of section 303 of the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949 (41 U.S.C. 253), section 2304 of title 10, United States Code, and the Federal Acquisition Regulation.
(b) Notwithstanding any other provision of this Act, none of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available by this Act may be awarded by grant or cooperative agreement unless the process used to award such grant or cooperative agreement uses competitive procedures to select the grantee or award recipient.