1:33 PM EST

Pat Toomey, R-PA 15th

Mr. TOOMEY. Mr. Chairman, it seems to me we have had considerable debate about the substance of this bill today, and there is substantial evidence that the mandatory source status that is enjoyed by FPI is a policy that is harmful to a variety of American industries and workers, including the furniture manufacturers and the garment-makers in my district. The core objective of this bill is to eliminate the status, the FPI status as a mandatory source supplier and, thereby, require the FPI to compete

for Federal contracts rather than have the opportunity to simply claim them. I am a cosponsor of this bill, and I applaud this effort and I support the bill.

What my amendment would do would further define the FPI's role in competing with private sector small businesses. Specifically, my amendment would prohibit the FPI from bidding on any contracts that are intended to be exclusively set aside for small business concerns.

This Congress and many Congresses before us have established, for a variety of reasons, that a certain percentage of Federal Government procurements should be made through small businesses, and we call those small businesses set-asides. The whole idea has always been to ensure that small businesses, mom-and-pops, local people struggling, in all of our districts and in all of our communities, to get a business off the ground and to employ some people, that they get a shot at some of the business

that their tax dollars pay for.

It seems abundantly obvious to me that the Federal Prison Industry does not in any way qualify as a small business nor fit the descriptions that most of us have in mind when we think about small businesses. With $500 billion in annual sales, with 20,000 employees, with this network within the Federal penitentiaries in America, that is not what we mean when we talk about small business. It was never the intent of Congress that the Federal Prison Industry should be able to compete for the contracts

that are intended to be set aside for small businesses.

Yet, last year, when we repealed the mandatory source status for the FPI with respect to DOD procurements, unfortunately, regulations were promulgated that specifically allowed the Federal Prison Industry to compete for small business set-asides within DOD. My amendment would correct this error with respect to DOD, but it also would apply to the other Federal agencies, and it is based on a simple premise: that small business set-asides should in fact be for small businesses, not for the FPI.

It is tough enough for small businesses to compete against large businesses. I do not think they should have to compete against the Federal Prison Industry. This is a good bill.

1:35 PM EST

James Sensenbrenner Jr., R-WI 5th

Mr. SENSENBRENNER. Mr. Chairman, I thank the gentleman for yielding. This is a good bill and this is also a good amendment, and I am pleased to support it.