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House panel chairman pushes GSA over supply schedules proposal

Nov. 29, 2012 - 10:08AM   |  
By NICOLE BLAKE JOHNSON   |   Comments
In a letter to General Services Administration Acting Administrator Dan Tangherlini (above), U.S. Rep. Sam Graves is pressing the GSA to back off of its plan to reduce the federal supply schedules contracting program on grounds it will harm small-business contractors.
In a letter to General Services Administration Acting Administrator Dan Tangherlini (above), U.S. Rep. Sam Graves is pressing the GSA to back off of its plan to reduce the federal supply schedules contracting program on grounds it will harm small-business contractors. (File)

A House panel chairman is pressing the General Services Administration to back off of its plan to reduce the federal supply schedules contracting program on grounds it will harm small-business contractors.

GSA announced this year that it will use a “demand-based model” to phase out more than 8,000 supply schedule contracts it identified as obsolete. Typewriters, nondigital photographic equipment, trophies and commemorative or promotional items are some of the outdated or unnecessary products GSA plans to phase out of the popular governmentwide contracting program. The reduction is expected to save $24 million a year and is intended to enhance small-business viability and improve operational efficiency.

House Small Business Committee Chairman Sam Graves, R-Mo., disagrees.

In a letter Thursday to GSA’s Acting Administrator Dan Tangherlini, Graves said that “while I strongly support GSA seeking ways to reduce spending and improve operational efficiency, I am not convinced that the proposal accomplishes either aim, and am concerned that rather than promote small business viability, [the proposed demand-based model] will result in fewer opportunities for small businesses to compete.”

In an earlier Oct. 25 letter to GSA, Graves argued that the federal supply schedules are more than an avenue for small businesses to compete for task orders. Many government agencies view a supply schedule contract as a form of credential that gives companies a level of credibility, he said.

Graves also said he wasn’t convinced that GSA understands its own cost model or that any cost savings would offset the harm to small business. Graves said GSA first said it expected to save $24 million but later said savings would amount to only $6 million.

GSA staff members are expected to meet with the committee next month.

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