Congress mulls new way to dispute SBA size standards

Small businesses must go to federal court to challenge Small Business Administration size standards. But costly litigation is not a realistic option for small companies like Oculus, a 26- person architectural firm in St. Louis, Missouri, the firm’s executive Vice President Ronald Reim told the House Small Business Subcommittee on Contracting and the Workforce.

The committee is considering a bill that would let firms challenge the agency through an administrative process as well. Under the legislation, a firm would have to file a complaint with the SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals within 30 days of a new size standard’s publication in the Federal Register.

“Compared to litigation, it’s a fairly simple process,” said attorney Jim Fontana, who represents the Small Business Value Added Reseller Consortium. “They are paper exchanges, usually one each. After that, you’d have judicial review of that process if the parties so desire. So it does introduce a much-less expensive process that small companies would be able to afford, comparatively.”

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