Small Business:

Trends in Federal Procurement in the 1990s

GAO-01-119: Published: Jan 18, 2001. Publicly Released: Jan 29, 2001.

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Jayetta Hecker
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This report focuses on the trends in federal procurement for small businesses during the 1990s. Some organizations that represent small businesses and others have expressed concerns over acquisition reforms in the mid-1990s that may have reduced the opportunities for small businesses to compete for federal government contracts. These reforms sought to streamline acquisition processes to help government acquire goods and services more efficiently. The reforms included provisions to facilitate greater use of some types of contracts. However, small business representatives believe that some of these reforms could make it difficult for small businesses to compete for federal contracts. For example, the Clinger-Cohen Act authorizes the use of multiagency contracts. These contracts could potentially consolidate agencies' requirements, which small businesses may not be able to meet. At the same time, some procurement reforms have benefited small businesses. The Federal Acquisition Streamlining Act, for example, increased the value of contracts set aside exclusively for small business participation. In addition, the Small Business Reauthorization Act of 1997 increased the percentage of federal contracts to be awarded to small businesses to 23 percent. Small Business Administration data indicate that federal agencies met the legislative goal for procurement from small businesses from fiscal years 1993 to 1999.

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