Federal Computer: Proposed bill takes a whack at contract bundling

Federal officials who find themselves tempted to bundle multiple contracts into one nice, big package should take note.

Saving money isn’t an acceptable reason for contract bundling.

Neither is the otherwise admirable notion of relieving an overloaded contracting officer.

And even the idea of reducing the costs of the acquisition process isn’t going to cut it.

At least Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) isn’t buying those excuses. And he is proposing to make such rationale unacceptable under the law too.

On March 10, Tester introduced the Level Playing Field Contracting Act (S. 3101) because he wants to give small businesses and contractors a real chance in the federal marketplace by breaking up bundled contracts, or stopping any mergers before they begin to come together.

Tester said the big companies are getting the big contracts, leaving the small businesses on the sidelines.

“The Level Playing Field Act will open the door for smaller companies to get some skin in the game,” Tester said.

Under Tester’s bill, civilian agencies couldn’t bundle contracts into one that would be worth more than $2 million. The Defense Department couldn’t combine contracts to create a $7.5 million acquisition.

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