Ernst continues efforts to support small businesses

Sen. Joni Ernst

U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) on Sept. 5 sponsored legislation that would amend the Small Business Act regarding federal contract requirements for America’s small businesses.

“Wacky government jargon, a lack of accountability, and misplaced priorities in federal contracting continue to push our small businesses to the sidelines,” said Sen. Ernst, ranking member of the U.S. Senate Small Business Committee. “The fact that fewer entrepreneurs are receiving federal contracts is nothing to celebrate.”

Sen. Ernst introduced the Accountability and Clarity in Contracts to Engage Small Suppliers (ACCESS) and Small Businesses Act, S. 2720, which would make federal notices (i.e. solicitations) easier to understand by requiring that they be written in plain language and mandate that key terms of the contract be included in the title or description, according to a bill summary provided by the senator.

If enacted, the bill also would measure the health and variety of small businesses supporting the industrial base; ensure the participation of many different small businesses across industries; and cap agencies’ ability to count the total contract award value two times only, according to the summary.

Additionally, S. 2720 would evaluate large prime contractor’s past use of small businesses as subcontractors prior to granting any awards and require them to testify before Congress when goals are not met, the summary says.

“By reforming the contracting landscape and making it more accessible for small business owners, we can promote job creation, support local communities, and ensure that our country’s national security industrial base is upheld by many American small businesses rather than dependent on a few,” Sen. Ernst said.

To support Iowa small businesses currently navigating the federal procurement process, Sen. Ernst on Sept. 22 will host an Entrepreneur Expo at Iowa State University.