NOPA Storms Capitol Hill!

Last week NOPA dealers from across the country stormed Capitol Hill in support of GSA’s new online marketplace.  NOPA originally opposed this concept because it was clearly written for and by Amazon.  However, due to NOPA’s efforts and others, significant changes were made to this bill, which has moved us to the cautiously optimistic category.  This led to NOPA hitting Capitol Hill with a simple message.  We think the new online marketplace potentially offers our industry tremendous opportunities, if and only if an industry task force is created to work hand-in-hand with GSA on ensuring this marketplace keeps pace with the rapid changes in technology, product offerings, pricing, how resellers go to market, the needs of the government buyer, and costs.  

NOPA does not want to see the same problems and challenges that Federal Strategic Sourcing has encountered.  These problems nearly tore our industry apart.  In an effort to avoid these pitfalls, NOPA is asking that Congress include language in its FY’19 National Defense Reauthorization (NDAA) bill a provision establishing an industry task force that would work with GSA to ensure the marketplace is a success for all involved. 

Over the course of two days NOPA met with members of the House of Representatives and United States Senate in an effort to educate them on the industry, our interest in the new marketplace, and the need to make sure small businesses have a voice and seat at the table.  NOPA members met with over 90 offices and the results were very positive.  So positive that we left the fly-in with bi-partisan efforts by Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-NY), a longtime industry supporter and Rep. Ralph Norman (R-SC), a staunch small business advocate, agreeing to offer an amendment to the FY’19 NDAA bill, which calls for the creation of an industry task force.  

We also were able to work with Home Depot on getting a second amendment submitted for consideration, which say’s that if you are selected to be a platform provider under the new marketplace, then you cannot sell any of your own products on it.  You must be an independent platform provider.  This is important because NOPA has a solution that it is offering the government, which does fit this criteria. Best of all, it meets all the buying requirements of the federal government – Amazon cannot make that claim, nor are they will to adhere to the current federal requirements. 

Independent dealers had there week in Washington and they made the most of it.  We had our voices heard and with a continued effort by NOPA lobbying team and our grassroots army, we will continue to push this issue forward.  With your help we can and will ensure our industry has a permanent seat at the table when it comes to current and future decisions on how this marketplace operates.  That is the power of this annual event and the power of your voice. 

Be part of the effort and join NOPA’s grassroots efforts.  This issue is not just for those selling to the federal government.  Everything we are doing in Washington will trickle down to the state and local level, where you are already feeling the squeeze of Amazon.  We can compete with them.  We can do everything they do.  We just need to band together and speak together and that is exactly what NOPA members did during last week’s fly-in.