Longtime government contracting leader Dr. Ed Bersoff is urging Congress, President Donald Trump, and the Small Business Administration to take decisive action to save hundreds of thousands of industry jobs during the current economic crisis.
“Congress, President Trump, and the SBA are acting with admirable speed to stave off a complete collapse of our economy,” said Bersoff, Chairman of Parabilis and 2019 inductee into the Greater Washington Government Contractor Hall of Fame. “As they do so, they should take several actions to save small business government contractors who are uniquely vulnerable to this crisis.”
Writing in Real Clear Markets and Virginia Business magazine, Bersoff and Parabilis CEO Bruce Lyman outlined five steps to help small business government contractors. Two of those steps –expanding the definition of “disaster” and extending loan limits – are being implemented by the SBA. Bersoff and Lyman also urged national leaders to:
- Make temporary exceptions to some requirements for traditional SBA loans. “Many government contractors…will not have the credit history and…profitability to qualify” for these loans, wrote Bersoff and Lyman. “What they do have is years of booked contracts…which they can use to pay back loans.”
- Direct contracting officers to automatically allow as much remote work as possible. “This would ease…financial burdens…and keep [companies] largely on-track to complete their work for the American people,” wrote Bersoff and Lyman, echoing a letter from the Professional Services Council, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and eight other business groups that was released last week.
- Temporarily treat contractors “the same as federal employees when it comes to forced paid time off.” Bersoff and Lyman wrote that continuing to pay contractors even if they can’t work will prevent bankruptcies, secure “financial stability for millions of people,” and “won’t cost taxpayers a dime” because “continuing to pay contractors would simply release the money as scheduled.”
“Unless drastic action is taken, hundreds of thousands of employees of government contractors will be severely harmed by the economic crisis,” said Lyman, a retired Air Force Colonel who previously founded and ran a company that specialized in government IT services. “I know this firsthand, as my last firm struggled through the 2008 Great Recession, which had a huge impact on small businesses.”
“The federal government’s job today is to keep the coronavirus crisis from turning into a catastrophe,” Bersoff said. “These five steps will keep hundreds of thousands of people employed, provide financial stability for their families, and ensure that the military and other key parts of the federal government keep running smoothly.”