Sens. Murkowski and Inhofe Ask Defense Secretary Gates to Consult with Alaska Natives and Indian Tribes on 8(a) Contracting Issue

WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Sens. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and James Inhofe, R-Oklahoma, today asked Secretary of Defense Robert Gates to hold formal consultations with federally recognized Indian tribes and Native stakeholders on the development of new federal regulations regarding Alaska Native Corporation sole source contracts.

The Fiscal Year 2010 Defense Authorization bill included language requiring a new government-wide justification and approval process for sole source contracts above $20 million. Native-owned 8(a) firms are the only contractors in the 8(a) program that are eligible to receive such contracts.

The sole source contract language was inserted by Senate and House Defense Authorization bill conferees at the 11th hour of negotiations without any input from stakeholders.

In the letter to Gates, Murkowski and Inhofe said: "We fear these new requirements, which have yet to be articulated, are creating a chilling effect on all contracting officers, government wide, limiting procurement opportunities for Native-owned firms."

Attached is a copy of the letter that Murkowski and Inhofe sent to Gates.

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