Inclusive Access to Government Contracts for SMBs is Enabled Through Tech Platforms, Escobar Amendment Undermines Opportunities for SMBs

By at 21 June, 2022, 9:10 pm

Dear Member of the U.S. House of Representatives:

Open and inclusive access to federal government procurement opportunities is a critical issue that ensures competition and innovation in this sizable marketplace, fairness for the tens of thousands of small to mid-size businesses (SMBs) that want to win a federal contract, and helps to ensure that taxpayers are getting the best value for the goods and services the federal government purchases. The Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council (SBE Council) has long supported an open, transparent and competitive federal procurement marketplace that makes it easy and simple for SMBs to bid on and win federal contracts. That is why we are pleased to see activity focused on the testing of different e-commerce models to increase competition in the General Service Administration (GSA) e-commerce pilot, as this initiative will greatly benefit taxpayers and provide new federal procurement opportunities for SMBs that utilize tech platforms to access markets.

The research pilot to date has had a positive outcome for taxpayers and the federal government, and specifically the e-marketplace model, as noted within a June 2021 GSA report on the cost estimates of the business model to respond to Section 827 of the FY20 NDAA:

“GSA believes that the e-marketplace provider model continues to provide significant benefit to the Government buyer, while closely aligning with administration priorities and minimizing Government burden and costs. Finally, once fully implemented, the program believes it can be cost-neutral, further reducing the burden to the American taxpayer.”

This is very positive news, which is why it is important that testing, research and implementation continue before major changes are made to the program that could disrupt and distort the pilot’s findings. Again, to date, the results have been promising for taxpayers, the procurement system, and SMBs alike. Now is not the time to throw an unnecessary wrench in the pilot program, as the Escobar Amendment to the NDAA would do. Economic conditions, inflation, and supply chain challenges have already added great uncertainty for businesses and markets alike. It makes no sense to disrupt this important and positive program by prohibiting Amazon and the SMBs in their store from participating in the e-commerce pilot, as proposed by the Escobar Amendment.

That is why SBE Council urges you to oppose the Escobar Amendment to the NDAA, as it would specifically prohibit Amazon and by extension all the SMBs in their store from participating in this important e-commerce pilot. 

The complexity and cost of government contracting – along with general confusion about how to navigate the procurement process – has kept most small businesses away from these opportunities. Technology platforms can enable access to these markets for countless SMBs. That is precisely why they use Amazon. Unfortunately, efforts underway in some corners to punish technology leaders such as Amazon would also punish the many small businesses that use the platform to seamlessly access markets and build their businesses. In this case, their federal contracting opportunities would be upended.

SBE Council urges you to stand with SMBs and government efficiency and oppose the Escobar Amendment. Thank you, in advance, for your support of small businesses.


Karen Kerrigan, President & CEO


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