Tester’s new bill levels playing field for Montana small businesses

Senator also posts video of Bozeman workshop online

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Days after his most recent small business workshop, Senator Jon Tester today introduced legislation to give small businesses a fair shot at competing for federal contracts and creating jobs in Montana.

Tester announced plans for the legislation last month at his Small Business Opportunity Workshop in Bozeman.

Tester’s Level Playing Field Contracting Act seeks to give equal footing to small businesses and contractors seeking government contracts by:

  • Breaking up potentially large contracts into more manageable projects that small businesses can compete for;
  • Requiring agencies to indicate exactly what they’re looking for when it comes to the subjective components of a project, so that bidders aren’t rejected only because they incorrectly guess the “look and feel” of a particular project;
  • Requiring the U.S. General Services Administration to enforce agreements to hire local subcontractors and improve outreach to small businesses.

“All too often, when the government is contracting out work, we see the bigger firms at the head of the pack, competing for—and winning—the biggest contracts,”  Tester said.  “As we continue creating jobs for folks in Montana, this bill will give our smaller companies the tools they need to get some skin in the game.”

Tester’s Bozeman workshop brought together more than 300 small businesses and more than 20 federal and state agencies.  It followed a similar event in Great Falls last June that helped several Montana companies win federal contracts for construction projects funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

The Level Playing Field Contracting Act is online at tester.senate.gov/workshop.

Tester has also uploaded video highlights and other resources of the February 19 workshop to the website.