There’s tremendous partisanship reported regularly in the media. But in actuality, there’s considerable bipartisan action going on. Small business matters shouldn’t be partisan; issues need to be addressed. Fortunately, the Small Business Committee in the House has taken some steps to help small businesses.
The following is a brief overview of current bi-partisan bills on small business matters that have passed the Committee. Be sure to communicate your support or disapproval with your representative in Congress…you can make a difference.
Current bills on small business matters
7(a) Loan Agent Oversight Act
The SBA’s 7(a) loan program is the most common small business financing option for short-term and long-term working capital, purchasing machinery, equipment, fixtures, and supplies, and refinancing current debt. Introduced by Rep. Dan Meuser (R-PA) and Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN), H.R. 1644 would require the SBA Office of Credit Risk Management (OCRM) to submit an annual report to Congress regarding the performance of and risk associated with loans generated through loan agent activity.
Small Business 7(a) Loan Agent Transparency Act
Completing a 7(a) loan application can be done by a business, but often the business owner seeks the help of an attorney, an accountant, or other agent to prepare a business plan, cash flow projections, financial statements, and other documents. Unfortunately, there’s been a lot of fraud. Introduced by Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN) and Rep. Dan Meuser (R-PA), H.R. 1651 would require the OCRM to establish a registration system for 7(a) agents that assigns each a unique identifier and collects data to help OCRM track and evaluate loan performance for loans generated through loan agent activity.
Small Business Workforce Pipeline Act of 2023
Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs), hosted by universities, colleges, state economic development agencies, and private partners, in partnership with the SBA, provide free business consulting to new and existing small businesses. Introduced by Rep. Jason Crow (D-CO), Rep. Marc Molinaro (R-NY), Rep. Shri Thanedar (D-MI), Rep. Maria Salazar (R-FL), H.R. 1541 would allow SBDCs to provide assistance to small businesses regarding apprenticeship, pre-apprenticeship, and job training programs by disseminating information from the DOL. This is especially helpful now in light of enhanced green energy credits for businesses that comply with apprenticeship requirements.
Supporting Small Business and Career and Technical Education Act of 2023
Hiring qualified workers has been one of the key challenges for small businesses for some time now. The NFIB’s April 2023 Report found that 45% of all owners reported job openings they couldn’t fill, even more the month before. Introduced by Rep. Roger Williams (R-TX) and Rep. Marie Gluesenkamp Perez (D-WA), H.R. 1730 would help small businesses meet their hiring needs. This legislation directs SBDCs and Women’s Business Centers (WBCs) to assist small businesses in hiring graduates from career and technical education programs, in addition to the existing services SBDCs and WBCs provide. Additionally, this legislation supports career and technical education graduates by directing SBDCs and WBCs to assist them in starting up a small business.
Veteran Entrepreneurship Training Act of 2023
The SBA’s “Boots to Business” program provides entrepreneurial education and training for transitioning service members and their spouses. Introduced by Rep. Brad Schneider (D-IL), Rep. Roger Williams (R-TX), Rep. Morgan McGarvey (D-KY), Rep. Jake Ellzey (R-TX), H.R. 1606 would amend the Small Business Act to authorize the “Boots to Business” veteran entrepreneurship training program be extended for 5 years.
“To amend the Small Business Act require training on increasing contract awards to small business concerns owned and controlled by service-disabled veterans, and for other purposes”
The federal government aims to award 3% of all federal contracting dollars to service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses (SDVOSBs). A veteran with a 0% to 100% disability rating is eligible to self-represent as a Service-Disabled Veteran for federal contracting purposes. Introduced by Rep. Nick LaLota (R-NY) and Rep. Morgan McGarvey (D-KY), H.R. 3511 would require the SBA to issue guidance for each agency to better meet the current Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Businesses contracting goal and provide training for agencies that come up short.
Find more resources from earlier blogs about veterans as entrepreneurs and veteran-owned businesses here.
Tell your representative what you think
To help proposals move along in Congress, input from constituents doesn’t hurt. If you don’t know your representative or how to contact him or her, find a listing by zip code at House.gov. Then find your representative’s email or phone number to convey your thoughts.
Each year, hundreds of bills come before Congress; most never see the light of day. Hopefully, those benefiting small businesses and their owners will fare better and get signed into law. Stay tuned!