NSBA is always glad to see unanimous, nonpartisan support for strengthening small business.
Working hard before its midterm fall break, last week, the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship unanimously passed a panel of six bills aimed at investing in small business and improving the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).
Committee Chairman Ben Cardin (D-Md.) said the bills are aimed at addressing several “critical areas of concern,” including disaster assistance, access to broadband, and protection from cyber threats.
The six bills passed without any objections, and summary descriptions are as follows:
S. 1617, the Disaster Assistance for Rural Communities Act | Introduced by Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), John Kennedy (R-La.), and Mike Braun (R-In), the bill would amend the SBA’s threshold for disaster declarations, allowing the administrator to issue a disaster declaration for rural communities included in a Presidential public assistance-only disaster declaration. Under the bill, the governor of the state must request the declaration, and at least one homeowner, small business, or nonprofit must have experienced significant damage. The bill passed the committee on Feb. 15, 2022.
S. 1687, the Small Business Cyber Training Act of 2021 | Introduced by Sens. Shaheen and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), this bill would create a program to train counselors at SBDCs to provide cybersecurity guidance to small business owners. The committee approved the bill on May 18, 2022.
S. 3906, the Small Business Broadband and Emerging Technology Enhancement Act | Introduced by Sens. Shaheen and Kennedy, the bill would equip the SBA with the leadership and resources necessary to help small businesses access broadband internet; it was passed by the committee on May 18.
H.R. 4877, the One Stop Shop for Small Business Compliance Act | Introduced in Congress by Rep. Beth Van Duyne (R-Texas), the bill would require the SBA to maintain a website with hyperlinks to the small business compliance guides of each federal agency, as well as the relevant points of contact for the guides. Sens. John Cornyn (R-Texas), Jacky Rosen (D-Neb.), and Shaheen introduced the Senate companion, which cleared the committee on May 18.
H.R. 3462, the SBA Cyber Awareness Act | Introduced by Reps. Jason Crow (D-Colo.) and Young Kim (R-Calif.), this bill would require the SBA to: 1) assess its cybersecurity procedures; 2) develop and annually report to Congress its cybersecurity strategy; and 3) implement a notification system to alert Congress and all affected parties in the event of a cyber-breach. The committee passed the bill on February 15. Sen. Rubio sponsored the senate companion.
S. 2521, the SBIC Advisory Committee Act of 2022 | Introduced by Chair Cardin and Sen. Risch, this bill would establish an advisory committee to develop recommendations for increasing demographic and geographic diversity in SBA’s Small Business Investment Company (SBIC) program. Under the legislation, an advisory committee would be required to submit a report to Congress with recommendations on how to expand SBIC access to underserved communities within 18 months. The bill cleared the committee on February 15.
For some context, in 2021, SBICs made 1,063 investments in small businesses, of which only 55, or five percent, were owned by women, veterans, or minorities. Twenty percent, or 224 , of these categorized small businesses were headquartered in low- and moderate-income communities.
These bills will now move to the larger Senate for consideration, where very limited legislative calendar time poses high hurdles for expedient passage.
Follow @NSBAAdvocate, share your small business story with our staff and your Members of Congress– especially if there may be tangible or indirect effects of these bills on your bottom line, and check back here as NSBA tracks the latest on these legislative proposals from Capitol Hill.