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Now the SBA will require ANCs to demonstrate how their 8(a) participation has benefited Alaska Natives. However, the SBA placed limitations on this reporting so that it only applies to parent corporations, and it delays the implementation of this requirement for another six months, with the possibility of further delays if needed.
The SBA’s failure to specify the requirement to show actual benefit to Alaska Native communities leaves the door wide open for ANCs to continue doing business without showing that their activities contribute to the economic self-sufficiency of Alaska Native communities.
ANCs must meet the same standards as all other 8(a) firms. Specifically, ANCs should be required to show that they are actually economically and socially disadvantaged and that the firm meets the same “small business” definition as other 8(a) firms. ANCs should also be barred from receiving uncapped sole-source contracts, and these firms must be subject to the nine-year participation limit that is applied to other 8(a) firms. The right changes would not preclude ANCs from participating in the 8(a) program, but it will discourage much of the Beltway gamesmanship that has surrounded this program for far too long.
Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) is the ranking member of the House Homeland Security Committee and represents Mississippi’s 2nd district.