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Committee Passes Six Bipartisan Bills

Washington, May 1, 2019

Washington, D.C.— Today, the House Small Business Committee passed several bipartisan reforms to amend the Small Business Act and the Small Business Investment Act. The steps taken today will further expand capital access for small businesses recovering from a natural disaster, help small firms guard their data against hackers, and provide clarity around size standards for small firms competing for government contracts. 

Three of the bills today were led by Democratic Members: Full Committee Chairwoman Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY); Rep. Jason Crow (D-CO), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Innovation and Workforce Development; and Rep. Antonio Delgado (D-NY).

H.R. 277 “Access to Sufficient Capital for Everyone in Natural Disaster areas Act of 2019” (ASCEND Act)

Introduced by Chairwoman Nydia Velázquez (D-NY) and Ranking Member Steve Chabot (R-OH).

Helping small businesses and homeowners recover after a natural disaster has been one of the SBA’s core functions since its creation in 1953. Through the agency’s Office of Disaster Assistance (ODA), SBA provides low-interest loans to homeowners, renters, businesses of all sizes, and private, nonprofit organizations following a disaster. This bill incorporates Committee testimony and feedback and with the support of the SBA, would permanently raise the minimum disaster loan amount for which the SBA may require collateral from $14,000 to $25,000, helping more small businesses secure financing to rebuild their livelihoods. 

“This bill is a commonsense measure to expand access to assistance for our small businesses reeling from the devastation of a natural disaster,” said Chairwoman Velázquez. “The reality is that right now, too few small businesses have a plan in place for disaster recovery. It is my hope this legislation will help more small firms recover, rebuild and grow after disaster—not be forced to close their doors.”  

H.R. 2142 “Centralized Compliance Assistance Website”

Introduced by Rep. Antonio Delgado (D-NY) and Rep. John Joyce (R-PA) 

Small businesses don’t always have the resources to navigate multiple agency’s websites to understand their responsibilities under new laws. This bill tackles this challenge by requiring the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Office of the National Ombudsman to create a centralized website that houses compliance guides that pertain to federal regulations impacting small businesses, creating a one-stop-shop online for small business owners. 

“This bill will go a long way in helping small business owners in New York’s 19th district and across the country have an easier time finding and complying with federal regulations, freeing up more time to do what they do best—create new jobs and fuel our communities,” said Congressman Delgado. “I was proud to work in a bipartisan manner by partnering with Dr. Joyce on this bill, and I look forward to seeing it taken up on the House floor.” 

H.R. 2331 “SBA Cyber Awareness Act”

Introduced by Rep. Jason Crow (D-CO) and Rep. Troy Balderson (R-OH) 

This legislation takes several steps to strengthen the Small Business Administration’s handling and reporting of cyber threats affecting small businesses. Specifically, it would disclose: SBA’s cybersecurity infrastructure; the agency’s strategy to improve cybersecurity protections; any equipment manufactured by a company headquartered China and used by the agency; and any incident of cyber risk and the agency’s actions to confront it. Finally, recognizing that a cyberattack to the agency could put the sensitive information of small businesses at risk, the bill would require SBA to notify Congress of those affected and the cause in the event of a breach. 

“Today, Congress took the first step towards strengthening the Small Business Administration’s cybersecurity. With cybersecurity being one of the biggest threats to our economy and small businesses, this bill would ensure that we are doing everything we can to protect the millions of small businesses the SBA serves,” said Crow.

H.R. 1649 “Small Business Development Center Cyber Training Act of 2019”

Introduced by Ranking Member Steve Chabot (R-OH) and Vice Chair Rep. Dwight Evans (D-PA) 

This bill requires the Small Business Administrator to establish, or certify, an existing cyber counseling certification program to certify employees at small business development centers. It would also instruct the SBA to reimburse lead small business development centers for any costs relating to cyber strategy training certification of an employee up to $350,000 in a fiscal year.

H.R. 1648 “Small Business Advanced Cybersecurity Enhancement Act of 2019”

Introduced by Ranking Member Steve Chabot (R-OH) and Chairwoman Nydia Velázquez (D-NY)

This legislation establishes Small Business Administration (SBA) Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) as the primary interface for federal information sharing for small businesses by taking the following steps to ensure; small businesses that share cyber indicators through SBDCs receive the same protections and exemptions provided in the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act of 2015; that any policies or rulemaking adopted by any federal agency as a result of small business cyber information sharing do not unfairly burn small businesses; and, expands liability protections for small businesses that engage with the federal government in good faith. 

H.R. 2345 “Clarifying the Small Business Runway Extension Act”

Introduced by Rep. Pete Stabuer (R-MN) and Rep. Jared Golden (D-ME) 

Upon the Runway Act’s passage into law on December 17, 2018, the Small Business Administration has postponed its implementation, creating confusion and challenges for small businesses competing for federal contracts. This bill amends the Small Business Act to state specifically that the Small Business Administration is, in fact, subject to the federal requirements pertaining to size standards. The bill also directs SBA to issue a final rule implementing the law no later than Dec. 17, 2019 which is one year after the enactment of the Small Business Runway Extension Act of 2018.

Rep. Jim Hagedorn (R-MN) offered an amendment to the bill. It was adopted unanimously and can be found here.

More information regarding the markup can be found here.

A video of the markup is online here.

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