Effective Date: May 21, 1996
|Responsible Office: Office of Procurement|
|Subject: EMPOWERMENT CONTRACTING|
TEXT In order to promote economy and efficiency in Federal procurement, it is necessary to secure broad-based competition for Federal contracts. This broad competition is best achieved where there is an expansive pool of potential contractors capable of producing quality goods and services at competitive prices. A great and largely untapped opportunity for expanding the pool of such contractors can be found in this Nation's economically distressed communities. Fostering growth of Federal contractors in economically distressed communities and ensuring that those contractors become viable businesses for the long term will promote economy and efficiency in Federal procurement and help to empower those communities. Fostering growth of long-term viable contractors will be promoted by offering appropriate incentives to qualified businesses. Accordingly, by the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, including section 486(a) of title 40, United States Code, and section 301 of title 3, United States Code, it is hereby ordered as follows: Section 1. Policy. The purpose of this order is to strengthen the economy and to improve the efficiency of the Federal procurement system by encouraging business development that expands the industrial base and increases competition. Sec. 2. Empowerment Contracting Program. In consultation with the Secretaries of the Departments of Housing and Urban Development, Labor, and Defense; the Administrator of General Services; the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration; the Administrator of the Small Business Administration; and the Administrator for Federal Procurement Policy, the Secretary of the Department of Commerce shall develop policies and procedures to ensure that agencies, to the extent permitted by law, grant qualified large businesses and qualified small businesses appropriate incentives to encourage business activity in areas of general economic distress, including a price for an evaluation credit, when assessing offers for government contracts in unrestricted competitions where the incentives would promote the policy set forth in this order. In developing such policies and procedures, the Secretary shall consider the size of the qualified businesses. Sec. 3. Monitoring and Evaluation. The Secretary shall: (a) monitor the implementation and operation of the policies and procedures developed in accordance with this order; (b) develop a process to ensure the proper administration of the program and to reduce the potential for fraud by the intended beneficiaries of the program; (c) develop principles and a process to evaluate the effectiveness of the policies and procedures developed in accordance with this order; and (d) by December 1 of each year, issue a report to the President on the status and effectiveness of the program. Sec. 4. Implementation Guidelines. In implementing this order the Secretary shall: (a) issue rules, regulations, and guidelines necessary to implement this order, including a requirement for the periodic review of the eligibility of qualified businesses and distressed areas; (b) draft all rules, regulations, and guidelines necessary to implement this order within 90 days of the date of this order; and (c) ensure that all policies and procedures and all rules, regulations, and guidelines adopted and implemented in accordance with this order minimize the administrative burden on affected agencies and the procurement process. Sec. 5. Definitions. For purposes of this Executive order; (a) "Agency" means any authority of the United States that is an "agency" under 44 U.S.C. 3502(1), other than those considered to be independent regulatory agencies, as defined in 44 U.S.C. 3502(10). (b) "Area of general economic distress" shall be defined, for all urban and rural communities, as any census tract that has a poverty rate of at least 20 percent or any designated Federal Empowerment Zone, Supplemental Empowerment Zone, Enhanced Enterprise Community, or Enterprise Community. In addition the Secretary may designate as an area of general economic distress any additional rural or Indian reservation area after considering the following factors: (1) Unemployment rate; (2) Degree of poverty; (3) Extent of out migration; and (4) Rate of business formation and rate of business growth. (c) "Qualified large business" means a large for-profit or not-for-profit trade or business that (1) employs a significant number of residents from the area of general economic distress; and (2) either has a significant physical presence in the area of general economic distress or has a direct impact on generating significant economic activity in the area of general economic distress. (d) "Qualified small business" means a small for-profit or not-for-profit trade or business that (1) employs a significant number of residents from the area of general economic distress; (2) has a significant physical presence in the area of general economic distress; or (3) has a direct impact on generating significant economic activity in the area of general economic distress. (e) "Secretary" means the Secretary of Commerce. Sec. 6. Agency Authority. Nothing in this Executive order shall be construed as displacing the agencies' authority or responsibilities, as authorized by law, including specifically other programs designed to promote the development of small or disadvantaged businesses. Sec. 7. Judicial Review. This Executive order does not create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or equity by a party against the United States, its agencies or instrumentalities, its officers or employees, or any other person. /s/William J. Clinton THE WHITE HOUSE, May 21, 1996.
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