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Damien C. Specht, special counsel at Jenner & Block and co-chair of the firm’s Government Contracts Corporate Transactions Practice Group, testified on July 15, 2014, before the House Committee on Small Business, Subcommittee on Contracting and Workforce. Mr. Specht was invited to provide his perspective on the Small Business Administration’s implementation of specialized contracting rules. At Jenner & Block, he focuses on corporate transactions and compliance counseling for large and small government contractors.
In his testimony, Mr. Specht offered his perspective on three yet-to-be implemented contracting reforms arising from the enacted 2013 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA): expansion of the SBA’s mentor-protégé program; regulation of other agency mentor-protégé programs; and implementation of a safe harbor for small businesses that misrepresent their size. He advocated for expanding the SBA’s mentor-protégé program beyond small disadvantaged businesses and noted that this expansion would provide large business contractors with more reliable small business partners. He also spoke of the need to create greater awareness of the SBA mentor-protégé program in the contracting community, as the opportunities for small and large-scale contractors to bid together as joint venturers offer distinct business advantages. Furthermore, Mr. Specht testified that Congress should expand the Small Business Administration’s current safe harbor provisions for size misrepresentation because the current provisions are inadequate and create high risk for small businesses who seek to compete for government contracts.