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The federal government's long-standing policy has been to use its buying power to maximize procurement opportunities for various types of small businesses. GAO initiated work and completed a report in March 2007 under the Comptroller General's authority describing the extent to which small businesses participated in contracting opportunities related to Hurricane Katrina. This testimony discusses (1) results from the March 2007 GAO report, including the amounts that small and local businesses received directly from federal agencies from contracts related to Hurricane Katrina and the lack of required information in official procurement data systems on subcontracting plans, (2) information from two previous GAO reports regarding the small business advocacy responsibilities of Small Business Administration (SBA) and federal agencies that award contracts, and (3) GAO work on SBA's efforts to advocate for small disadvantaged businesses, and similar efforts by entities within selected agencies. In conducting the studies discussed in this testimony, GAO analyzed agency contract data, reviewed federal acquisition regulations, and interviewed agency procurement officials; we also sent a questionnaire to agency officials regarding Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU) reporting relationships; reviewed organizational charts and other pertinent information; analyzed relevant laws, legislative history, and court cases; and, updated information on agency actions on our recommendations.

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