Join Me and the American Small Business League!
In a phone conversation a few minutes ago with a representative of the American Small Business League, I was given permission to post this information. While the ASBL serves companies with up to 500 employees, far more employees than Indie Business Owners have, their interests are similar to ours in some ways. ASBL's review of the new Emergency (it's not an emergency) Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 reveals a provision that give unfettered discretion to the federal government to waive set-aside provisions that benefit small, woman-owned and minority-owed businesses.
Indies, I know that some large businesses have acted unfairly to take advantage of some of the SBA's set-aside programs. I am personally disgusted with how programs that were originally designed for real small businesses have been intentionally ignored by companies that find a way to benefit simply by having attorneys walk through loopholes and publicists to "spin" everything once they've made millions of dollars by employing unethical and illegal practices. I fear from a policy perspective that this will only get worse if the government can use this new law to waive, at its discretion, provisions protecting traditional small businesses. Just imagine where that leaves Indies! Please review ASBL's overview below and decide for yourself whether you agree that the law should not pass with this provision. If so, act now using the easy to use templates and links below.
Letter From American Small Business League
Today, I am contacting you with an important legislative alert and a call to action. As you may know, [Monday,] the House of Representatives voted down the financial bailout bill, by a 228-205 House Vote. The bill, H.R. 3997, the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, contained a provision that could have had far-reaching negative impacts for small businesses across the country. We are concerned that as Congress moves forward with the second incarnation of the bill, this legislative language could come up again.
Specifically, Section 107 of H.R. 3997 would give overly broad authority to the Secretary of the Treasury, allowing the Secretary to waive or suspend provisions of the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR). The bill states, "The Secretary may waive specific provisions of the Federal Acquisition Regulation upon a determination that urgent and compelling circumstances make compliance with such provisions contrary to the public interest." This vaguely worded power grab could lead to vital small businesses programs being suspended on the whim of the Treasury Secretary.
While this bill was voted down in House, it is almost certain that a new bailout bill with a similar provision will be introduced and possibly voted on soon. We cannot allow a bill to pass that contains legislative language, which weakens or removes the current protections for small businesses. In addition to concerns regarding the bailout plan, we are concerned that the language of H.R. 3997 did not contain any provisions to help small businesses compete during these hard economic times. With that in mind, we are pushing for the inclusion of a provision that would stop the diversion of federal small business contracts to large corporations, as a means of giving a boost to the middle class economy.
Given the gravity and time sensitive nature of this issue, we ask that you offer an official statement from your chamber opposing language similar to that of Section 107 and supporting the removal of large firms from federal small business contracting programs. Additionally, we ask that you distribute our message to your members, asking them to contact their elected officials regarding this issue. We would appreciate a copy of any letter that you decide to send to your congressional representatives. Please email me a copy of your letter or send it via fax to (707) 789-9580.
For your convenience I have included: a description of our concerns, a link to the congressional contact portal, a copy of H.R. 3997, and a letter template that you can personally use to contact your congressional representatives.
Thank you and please let me know if you have any questions.
We are concerned that Section 107 of S. 3997, the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, will be included in the second incarnation of the financial bailout bill. Section 107 of the bill, will give overly broad powers to the Secretary of the Treasury, which would allow the Secretary to waive specific provisions within the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) given, "urgent and compelling circumstances," which make compliance with such provisions contrary to the public interest. The suspension of the FAR would effectively remove vital protections for small businesses in federal contracting programs.
The language in H.R. 3997 was too vague and ill defined, which will open the door for an abuse of power that will harm small businesses. New bailout legislation will be introduced and possibly voted on by the end of the week and we cannot allow a bill to pass, which contains legislative language that weakens or removes the current protections for small business contractors, while giving the Treasury Secretary, overly broad powers.
Every year billions of dollars in federal small business contracts are awarded to Fortune 500 corporations, their subsidiaries and European firms. The current language of the bailout bill does not address stopping the diversion of federal small business contract dollars to large corporations. We believe that by including language to remove large firms from small business programs, we could infuse the middle class economy with billions of additional dollars.
Due to the urgency of the current financial situation and the willingness of Congress to introduce and pass a bailout bill within a quick timetable, we are asking that you take immediate action to help protect small businesses.
Dear Senator/Representative _______,
I would like to express my concern regarding the inclusion of Section 107 from H.R. 3997, the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 or any other legislative language that has the potential to weaken federal programs designed for small businesses. I oppose giving the Secretary of the Treasury the ability to waive specific provisions of the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) under any circumstances.
Additionally, small businesses are the backbone of our nation's economy. Every year billions of dollars in federal small business contracts are awarded to Fortune 500 corporations, their subsidiaries and European firms. That said, I support amending the current language of the bailout to include a boost for small businesses in middle class America, by precluding the federal government from counting large corporations towards the congressionally mandated small business procurement goal.
Small businesses are a vital engine of growth in our economy and I strongly urge you take action to ensure that small businesses remain protected.
What do you think?
I just wrote my representatives. Did you write yours? Share your thoughts and actions!
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