As the General Services Administration, which oversees the federal government’s annual $50 billion in spending on commercial goods, develops a plan for moving that purchasing onto an “e-commerce portal,” Advocates for Independent Business has submitted comments urging GSA to design a program that considers the crucial role that independent, small- and medium-sized businesses play in the economy.
“Small businesses are the engine of our national economy,” AIB writes in the letter. “We stress that implementation of the procurement process take into account how important small businesses are to job creation and the fiscal health of states and communities nationwide.”
In the letter, AIB also urges GSA to be mindful of handing too much power to Amazon in particular, and making the company the “official gatekeeper to government purchasing.”
AIB’s letter also requests that GSA look closely at the conflict of interest that’s inherent in both administering a purchasing platform and being a direct retailer on that platform, and asks GSA to disallow any company that administers the e-commerce portal from also being a direct retailer through that portal.
For more information on the move to route federal purchasing of commercial goods through an e-commerce portal, see this notice in the Federal Register, this piece in NextGov, and two articles in The Intercept: “The ‘Amazon Amendment’ Would Effectively Hand Government Purchasing Power Over to Amazon,” about the initial proposal, and “Congress Prepares to Send Major Gift to Amazon,” about updates to the provision.