(Washington, D.C.) – U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship Chair Ben Cardin (D-Md.) today lauded the unanimous Senate passage of six bills to improve the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and invest in small businesses.
“The American economy can go as far as our small businesses take us, so Congress must continue to invest in them so they can thrive in the years ahead,” Cardin said. “These bills address several critical areas of concern for American small business owners, including disaster assistance, access to broadband internet, and protection from cyber threats.”
Descriptions of the bills follow:
- S. 1617, the Disaster Assistance for Rural Communities Act was introduced by Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), John Kennedy (R-La.), and Mike Braun (R-Ind.). The bill would amend the SBA’s threshold for disaster declarations to allow the administrator to issue a disaster declaration for rural communities that have been included in a Presidential public assistance-only disaster declaration if the governor of the state has requested the declaration; and at least one homeowner, small business, or nonprofit had significant damage. The bill passed the committee on February 15, 2022.
- S. 1687, the Small Business Cyber Training Act of 2021 was introduced by Senators Shaheen and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.). The 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 was introduced by Senators 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 was introduced by former Representative and now-New York State Lieutenant Governor Anthony Delgado and 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. Senators John Cornyn (R-Texas), Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.), and Shaheen introduced the Senate companion, which cleared the committee on May 18.
- H.R. 3462, the SBA Cyber Awareness Act was introduced by Reps. Jason Crow (D-Colo.) and Young Kim (R-Calif.). The bill will require the SBA to assess its cybersecurity procedures; develop and report to Congress annually its cybersecurity strategy; and 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. Senator Rubio sponsored the senate companion.
- S. 2521, the SBIC Advisory Committee Act of 2022 was introduced by Chair Cardin and Senator Risch. The bill would establish an advisory committee to develop recommendations for increasing demographic and geographic diversity in SBA’s Small Business Investment Company (SBIC) program. The bill cleared the committee on February 15. In 2021, SBICs made 1,063 investments in small businesses, of which only 55, or 5 percent, were owned by women, veterans, or minorities, and 224, or 20 percent, were located in low- and moderate-income communities. The advisory committee must submit a report to Congress with recommendations on how to expand SBIC access to underserved communities within 18 months.