5/18/2012 Good news and bad news from Capitol Hill

Good news and bad news
from Capitol Hill

The good news is that the House Committee on Small Business with the assistance of a consortium of WCOE and other women’s business organizations, worked successfully to get a package of small business procurement amendments into the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). As detailed on our website these bills include increasing small business contracting goals and holding agencies accountable for not meeting them, increasing multiple award contracts, less bundling of contracts and other bits and pieces of WCOE’s wish list. What makes this effort so unique is that the NDAA is “must pass” legislation and while there is always the possibility that these amendments will be struck down by the Senate, at least we know for sure that our package will receive a vote – and we can take to task any Senator that votes “NO”. The full description of the NDAA is available on our website and before your eyes glaze over going through the entire 595 page bill, go to Section 1611 on page 41 (Pilot Program to Assist in the Growth and Development of Advanced Small Business Concerns).

Also in the good news category for many of our members is that the mid-tier set aside program was also included in this NDAA amendment. If you have fallen off the cliff of small business size and struggling to climb up to the other side with BIG business, you usually wind up in no-woman’s-land. This new program will provide a special category of set-aside government contracts for those businesses that are no longer qualified as small according to SBA's often indiscriminate size standards judgment, but not yet big enough to compete against the hundreds-of-millions-of-dollar-revenue prime contractors.

In what WIPP is labeling as a huge setback, the one bill (H.R. 4203) that could have fixed the new WOSB 8m program by removing dollar caps and allowing sole source authority, was not included in the amendment. The bill’s sponsor, Nadia Velazquez (D-NY), at the last minute decided to withdraw her bill from the NDAA and submit it as a stand-alone bill. The chances for passage as a stand-alone are greatly diminished in a congressional calendar already over-packed with must-pass legislation. Why this single bill was withdrawn was not explained, but passage this year is now very doubtful.

In an effort to remain optimistic, half a loaf is better than no loaf at all. Let’s all hold our breath and wait for Senate action – stay tuned!

A special welcome to our newest member

With a tag line of “Your Source for Space”, new WCOE member, Lisa Fenimore-Greenblatt is the Vice President of Cassone Leasing in Ronkonkoma, NY, a certified woman-owned firm. Whether you need a modular office trailer for a job site, stationary storage container, or a wheeled container, Lisa promises they can provide exactly what you need where you need it and at a price you’ll like. Cassone serves the tri-state area of NY/NY/CT.

You can welcome Lisa by calling 531.585.7800 (x31) or emailing lisa@cassone.com


LA Metro wants YOU!

For our very large California contingent, take note that the LA Metro and Transportation Business Advisory Council are inviting you to “Meet The Buyers” on June 13th, 12:30 to 4:30 pm at the Metro HQ, One Gateway Plaza, LA. On hand to learn about your capabilities will be Metro’s SBD Chiefs, Project Managers, Buyers and Contract Administrators in Communications, Construction/Project Management, Audit Services, Administrative Services, Planning, Financial Services and Bus/Rail Operations for upcoming contract opportunities! There is no cost to attend but you must pre-register by emailing Sonya Turner at turners@metro.net and be sure to include your company name, address, phone number and name of the attendee(s).

Attention Illinois members

Google wants to help you! On May 31st and June 1st, Google gurus will be coming to Chicago for a 2 day workshop providing hands-on help in building your free website, plus counseling on how to use the internet to promote your business.

There is absolutely no fee for this hands-on assistance but you must pre-register online at www.illinoisgetonline.com or www.gybo.com/illinois/. The event is being held at the Chicago Illuminating Company, 19 East 21st Street in Chicago. WCOE is a partner with Google on promoting this event – so do us proud and let them help you build a strong web presence!

Anyone going to WBENC Conference in Orlando?

If you are, would you be willing to spend a few hours behind the WCOE exhibit table answering questions from interested attendees? We have at least 1 volunteer so far and a possibility of another. If we could find 2 more, it would only mean 90-120 minutes out of your day to meet amazing women, support your organization and do well by doing good. Email Penny Pompei at penny@wcoeusa.org if you are interested.

Construction Coalition supports two amendments

A broad coalition of construction industry groups have gone on the record supporting two separate amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which would eliminate mandatory PLAs on government funded projects. WCOE's Policy Position on PLAs is that the decision to include a PLA on a project should be left up to the state or region and not dictated by the federal government. The letter supporting the Bartlett amendment is posted on our website as well as the letter supporting the Flake amendment.

Scramble City on Capitol Hill

As you can tell from several articles in this newsletter, Capitol Hill is abuzz with legislation and amendments which have become a blur in the past few days. It will likely only get worse with Congress only scheduled for less than 40 more work days before the November elections – still 5 months away. We’ll try to keep the website current, so check the Advocacy tab often at www.wcoeusa.org if you are a political junkie and want to keep up.


Southern California conference starts to take shape

Although it's not finalized yet, the Los Angeles conference planning is well underway and speakers are being confirmed. You can check out the progress, but be sure to mark your calendars now for an amazing two-plus days of information-gathering/sharing, networking and opportunity discovery. Summers are busy times for WCOE members so mark your calendars now to set aside July 22–24 at the venerable Beverly Wilshire Hotel.


Women Construction Owners and Executives
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