Committee Passes Set of Bipartisan Bills to Advance Veteran Entrepreneurship
Washington, July 17, 2019
Washington, D.C.— Today, the House Small Business Committee passed five bipartisan bills to enhance opportunities for America’s veterans seeking a pathway to entrepreneurship after service.
“Those who put their lives on the line for our country deserve nothing less than to return home with ample opportunities to pursue the American dream of starting a small business,” said Chairwoman Nydia M. Velázquez (D-NY). “Today, I’m proud the Committee has passed five strong bipartisan bills that will strengthen existing programs at SBA as well as deepen new opportunities for returning servicemembers. These bills will make it easier for veterans to access capital, navigate the federal procurement marketplace, and receive business training and guidance after service.”
H.R. 3537, “Veteran Entrepreneur Training Act of 2019”
This legislation will codify the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Boots to Business Program for five years to help transitioning servicemembers launch and grow small businesses. It additionally requires a report be submitted within 180 days after the bill’s enactment, notifying Congress of the program’s performance and effectiveness.
The Boots to Business program is a two-day entrepreneurship program offered by the SBA as part of the Department of Defense’s Transition Assistance Program. The program offers transitioning service members and military spouses information regarding self-employment and business ownership. With over 200,000 servicemembers making the transition from military to civilian life every year, this program seeks to ease their transition into entrepreneurship.
H.R. 3734, “Successful Entrepreneurship for Reservists and Veterans Act”
This bill will increase transparency around the Interagency Task Force for Small Business Development, which was designed to coordinate federal efforts to improve capital access, business development, and contracting goals for veteran and service-disabled veteran businesses. Specifically, the bill mandates that a report be sent to Congress each year on the appointments made to the task force and its plans for outreach and program promotion. The bill also requires a report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to Congress on the ability of veterans and military spouses to access credit.
H.R. 3661, “The Patriot Employer Protection Act”
In the event that an essential employee is called up for National Guard or Reservist duties, the SBA offers two programs to assist small businesses, the Military Reservist Economic Injury Disaster Loan (MREIDL) and the Repayment Deferral for Active Duty Reservists (Repayment Deferral). This legislation removed statutory restrictions that limit the use of the programs to active duty “during a period of military conflict” and replaces this language with “being ordered to perform active service for a period of more than 30 consecutive days.” This distinction is meant to broaden the pool of service members and reservists eligible for both programs.
H.R. 1615, “Verification Alignment and Service-Disabled Business Adjustment Act”
This bill reduces confusion around federal procurement requirements for service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses (SDVOSBs) and veteran-owned small businesses (VOSBs) by clarifying agency responsibility around a business’s status and eligibility for set-aside contracts.
Specifically, the bill transfers the responsibility of maintaining a database of fully certified SDVOSBs and VOSBs from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to the SBA. It also clarifies that the VA is responsible for verifying the individual business owner’s status as a veteran or service-disabled veteran, and the SBA is responsible for determining the business concern’s status as a small business concern.
An amendment was offered by Rep. Kelly and it was adopted unanimously by the Committee.
H.R. 499, “Service-Disabled Veterans Small Business Continuation Act”
This legislation amends language in the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to clarify that surviving spouses will remain eligible for the contracting certification of a SDVOSB upon the death of the disabled service member as long as specific requirements are met.
For video of today’s markup, click here.
For more information, click here.