Washington, D.C.— Today, the House passed several bipartisan reforms to amend the Small Business Act and the Small Business Investment Act. The bills passed 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).
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.
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 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.
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.
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.