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House and Senate Introduce Several Small Business Bills

Following his election last week to be Chairman of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) introduced five bills on various small business issues. Below are links to the bills, along with summaries provided by Rubio’s office:

  • S. 78: The “Hearing Small Business Act” will expand small businesses’ role in the regulatory process and require the government to consider feedback from small businesses in forming new regulations.
  • S. 83: The “Advocacy Empowerment Act” will ensure proper authority for SBA’s Office of Advocacy as it works to enact government-wide regulatory reform.
  • S. 84: The “Small Business Credit Protection Act,” will provide notification requirements and free credit reports to small businesses in the wake of a data breach, such as the Equifax breach in 2017.
  • S. 75: The “Preventing SBA Assistance from Going to China Act of 2019” will protect small businesses from Chinese interference by preventing loans and guarantees, money intended to stimulate the growth of American businesses, from going in the pockets of Chinese-owned firms.
  • S. 77: The “Small Business Relief from Disease Induced Economic Hardship Act” will build upon the Small Business Act to make loans available to small businesses that suffer economic injury from disease-induced travel alerts or travel warnings issued by the federal government. This stems from Florida area businesses who have been directly impacted by the Zika virus.

Meanwhile, the House is scheduled to vote on four small business bills this week. These bills were passed by the House last session but had to be reintroduced for the new Congress. The text of these bills remains the same as the previous versions passed in the House last session.

  • Sole-Source Contracts (H.R. 190): This bill would allow contracting officers to award sole-source contracts of greater value by eliminating the inclusion of option years in the award price. It increases the sole-source award amount for manufacturing to $7 million and allows the $4 million/$7 million sole-source amounts to be awarded each year instead of for the total the life of the contract. For example, instead of a total sole source amount of $4 million, a five-year contract could go up to $20 million. 
  • Bank Investments in Small Business (H.R. 116): This bill would allow financial institutions to invest as much as 15 percent of capital and surplus in small business investment companies.
  • Mentorship in SBIR/STTR (H.R. 206): This bill would incentivize participation in the Mentor-Protégé program by providing an increase to the past performance rating of any small business that has participated in the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs and serves as a mentor to another small business that is looking to participate in the SBIR/STTR programs.
  • SBIR/STTR (H.R. 246): This bill would establish reporting deadlines for SBA and agencies participating in the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs.

UPDATE 01/18/19: The House passed H.R. 190, H.R. 116, H.R. 206, and H.R. 246 this week, which now go to the Senate along with three other small business-focused bills (H.R. 226H.R. 227, and H.R. 128) that were passed last week.