Senate Stalls on Changes Affecting Small Business

The Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship postponed an important vote on a bill affecting all small businesses before taking summer recess because it failed to agree on proposed critical regulatory changes. Now that Congress is back in session, the Committee may choose to consider the draft legislation which contains 15 changes that, if passed, will be game-changers for all small businesses nationwide including Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Businesses (SDVOSBs,)  Women-Owned Small Businesses (WOSBs,) Economically-Disadvantaged Women-Owned Small Businesses (EDWOSBs, HUBZone and those certified under the 8(a) Program.

The Chairman’s draft contains the following 15 changes that affect all small businesses regarding federal contracting, access to capital, small business cyber security, and regulatory issues.

Federal Contracting

  1. Raises sole source thresholds to $8 million generally and at $10 million for manufacturing contracts.
  2. Allows sole source contracts calculations for each option year instead of the current one-time total amount of the award.
  3. Amendment to eliminate the rule of two language for sole source contracts from the WOSB, HUBZone, and SDVOSB programs.
  4. Solidifies Small Business Runway Extension Act, allowing for 5-year average of gross receipts for revenue based NAICS codes and adds employee based NAICS codes to the calculation by allowing them to also use a 5-year average for the purposes of size determination.
  5. Requires agencies to pay small business contractors for work performed within 15 days of performance.
  6. Requires the SBA to commission an independent external study to determine which industries are underrepresented by women.
  7. Allows for equity investment in women and minority owned small businesses for federal contractors by women-owned/minority-owned equity firms.
  8. Adds the SBA as a member of the Federal Acquisition Regulatory (FAR) Council.

Access to Capital

  1. Eliminates a rule that prevents SBA from distributing more than 1/55th of its microloans in any one state.
  2. Requires much needed data on microloans, of which women are the largest consumers.

Regulatory Issues

  1.  Expands the role of the SBA Office of Advocacy to weigh in on regulations affecting small businesses.
  2.  Requires a five-year review of regulations’ effect on small businesses.
  3. Allows the Office of Advocacy to write a letter questioning an agency’s certification that a proposed rule would not have a significant impact on a substantial number of small entities, and asking the agency to reconsider.

Cybersecurity

  1. Mandates that the SBA Administrator establish a program to designate employees of lead SBDCs as certified to provide cyber strategy assistance to small businesses.
  2. Directs the SBA to develop a cybersecurity clearinghouse that consolidates federal government cybersecurity information specifically for small business assistance.

 

Ann Sullivan, Women Impacting Public Policy’s (WIPP) Chief Advocate states “The Senate Small Business Committee has been working this year to reimagine and reinvigorate programs at the Small Business Administration (SBA) through a reauthorization bill.”

Sullivan continues “The Senate Small Business Committee is poised to open up access to capital for WOSB/EDWOSB federal contracting firms and make the WOSB program comparable to other SBA procurement programs, including lifting restrictions and dollar amounts that hamper contracting officers from issuing sole source awards to women.”

None of these changes are guaranteed at this point. It is possible for any business person who wishes to contact their senators to ask that the senators understand their constituents wishes, whatever stance or opinion held.

 

Gloria Larkin is President and CEO of TargetGov and a national expert in business development in the government markets.  Email glorialarkinTG@targetgov.com, visit www.targetgov.com or call toll-free 1-866-579-1346 x 325 for more information.

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