Knight's Small Business Contracting Measure Advances
Mentor-Protege Coopration Reform Act Awaits Senate Approval
A bill by Representative Steve Knight (CA-25) to help small businesses compete for defense contracts cleared one of its final legislative hurdles on Friday.
H.R. 4322, the Mentor-Protégé Cooperation Reform Act, would simplify the qualification process for the Department of Defense’s (DOD) Mentor-Protégé program, which assists firms considered by the Small Business Administration (SBA) to be “disadvantaged,” such as small businesses owned by women and veterans. According to the SBA, there are over 250 such companies in Rep. Knight’s district, which covers the Antelope, Santa Clarita, and Simi Valleys.
Recently, issues with the Mentor-Protégé program’s qualification process have caused confusion for participating firms, and the DOD contends that it is not equipped to handle certain aspects of that process itself. Rep. Knight’s bill would solve this by authorizing the SBA to manage those trouble areas as they do for other federal agencies with similar Mentor-Protégé programs, thus streamlining the program and making it easier for companies to participate.
“Our communities are in the unique position of having a huge presence of defense contracting companies as well as a large number of small businesses that are seeking government contacts,” said Rep. Knight. “The DOD Mentor-Protégé Cooperation Reform Act would help bridge the gap between those two groups so that our region’s economy can thrive.”
In April H.R. 4322 was added to the language of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2017, a major annual bill that authorizes the budgets and expenditures for most national defense operations in the upcoming fiscal year. The NDAA passed the House in May, and entered a lengthy conferencing process to reconcile its differences with the version the Senate passed. Today the final version came to the floor along with Rep. Knight’s bill and passed with overwhelming bipartisan support.
“This bill is another commonsense step toward ensuring that our small businesses have opportunities to compete and grow their operations,” said Rep. Knight. “I am pleased that my colleagues in the House joined me in advancing H.R. 4322 and I will continue to work to ensure that it becomes law.”
The Conference Report for the NDAA for FY 2017, along with Knight’s Mentor-Protégé Cooperation Reform Act, passed the House 375-34. It now awaits consideration in the Senate.