Senate Bill 938 would require GSA (General Services Administration) in consultation with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), to ensure that any direct communications with small businesses about providing goods and services to the Federal Government contain a notice that technical assistance from the Federal Government on the procurement process is available to small businesses at no cost.
We explained this bill in some detail back in May (see Proposed Legislation to Notify Small Businesses of Free Procurement Assistance). The intent is to help protect small businesses from falling victim to fraud when they register to sell their products and services to the Government. We're not sure what kind of procurement fraud that SAM (System for Award Management) registrants are susceptible to. Neither of the Senate sponsors (Peters and Collins) provided any studies or anecdotal evidence of procurement fraud. We know from personal experience that SAM registration will result in many offers of assistance for a fee. Sometimes such paid assistance is no better than what is available for free through DLA's Procurement Technical Assistance Centers (PTAC) or SBA assistance. However, we would not call that procurement fraud.
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) reported that the Bill, if enacted, would have negligible impact on spending or revenues for the next 10 years, and would impose no costs on state, local, or tribal governments. That is intuitively obvious.
The Bill took another step toward enactment earlier this month when the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs reported favorably in support of the legislation.
Finding and utilizing free resources is a good place to start for small businesses just getting started in Government contracting. The PTACs in particular have a lot of resources and a good track record in helping companies through the maze of procurement regulations.