The Obama administration has proposed combining the functions and staff of the Small Business Administration; the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative; the Export-Import Bank; the Overseas Private Investment Corporation; and the Trade and Development Agency.
This proposed restructuring is being pitched as a way to ease the regulatory burden on businesses and a savings $3 billion over 10 years is being claimed. That said, there are some trade groups who are concerned about the execution of the proposed restructuring and they are concerned that the move could strip resources from entrepreneurs rather than reinforce the needs of small businesses.
Such a massive reorganization will face difficulties getting approved in an election year and Congress may be less likely to approve the idea because several of the affected agencies currently report to different Congressional committees.
Many small business groups are concerned that the restructuring will take resources away from small-business programs. Several of the agencies in the proposed consolidation concern themselves primarily with large firms and although small businesses tend to be skeptical of government in general, they have a favorable impression of the SBA and don’t want its influence diminished.
Personally I am worried that small contractors would be disoriented by the change. With fewer resources, the new agency might not be able to adequately educate small contractors on how to pursue government dollars. As I told the Washington Post, “If you change an entire agency, how are they going to put together the outreach? Where is that money? The confusion it’s going to cause in the market place is my number one concern,”
To read more on the proposed government consolidation at the Washington Post click here