Washington, D.C. – Following Senate passage of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), U.S. Senator Jim Risch (R-ID), chairman of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, applauded the bill for providing a significant boost to small businesses across America. Included in the bill were over a dozen provisions that, among other reforms, will bolster cybersecurity awareness/preparedness, improve a number of lending programs, expand small business contracting opportunities, increase transparency within the federal government and provide certainty and commercialization assistance for small businesses participating in small business research and development programs. The NDAA passed the Senate last week and is awaiting the President’s signature.

“As chairman of the Senate Small Business Committee, I am constantly looking for ways to improve the resources and opportunities available to small business owners and help them to flourish,” said Risch. “The FY19 NDAA was so successful in meeting that goal. Now, small business owners will have more commercialization opportunities and certainty when participating in small business research and development programs, more contracting opportunities, and will have access to improved lending programs like the Employee Stock Ownership Program (ESOP). Increased participation in this program will allow more small businesses to remain viable when an owner retires. I am really proud of this Congress’ work.”

Notable among the NDAA provisions was language cosponsored by Risch, S. 2786, the Main Street Employee Ownership Act. The legislation will modernize ESOP lending at the Small Business Administration (SBA), require Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) to be trained on this program, and amend reporting requirements to include metrics on employee-owned businesses.

See below for a full list of small business related provisions included in the FY19 NDAA:

Section 1644- This section provides cybersecurity information for small and medium manufacturers.

Section 811- This section updates existing Statute by repealing the requirement for an Advocate for Competition at the Defense Logistics Agency. 

Section 851- This section requires the Department of Defense (DoD) to develop an agency-wide small business strategy in consultation with the DoD Office of Small Business Programs.

Section 852- This section requires the DoD to make accelerated payments to small business contractors with a goal of paying them within 15 days of receiving an invoice.

Section 853- This section contains language from the Microloan Modernization Act (S. 526) introduced by Senator Deb Fischer (R-NE) and passed by the Senate by unanimous consent. This bill increases the total limit on outstanding loans per lender from $5 million to $6 million.

Section 854- This section makes improvements to the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) by extending four pilot programs through FY 2022, including the Phase Flexibility Pilot Program, the SBIR/STTR Administrative Funding Pilot Program, the Phase 0 Proof of Concept Partnership Pilot Program, and the Commercialization Readiness for Civilian Agencies Pilot Program. It also includes commercialization provisions that expands the use of technical assistance from one vendor to multiple vendors and increases the amount of SBIR awards that can be used for commercialization.

Section 855- This section requires agencies soliciting construction contracts to disclose their three year history of using change orders.

Section 856- This section directs the Government Accountability Office to submit a report to Congress on broadband speed and prices available to small businesses. 

Section 857- This section requires DoD to include information on SBIR and STTR program funding in their annual budget justification. 

Section 860- This section requires all agencies with SBIR programs to implement a Commercialization Assistance Pilot Program if they do not already have one. This pilot would expire in 2022.

Section 861- This section would create a statutory definition of a Puerto Rican business in order to provide various incentives for contracting with small businesses located in Puerto Rico in the aftermath of the 2017 hurricanes. 

Section 862- This section contains language from the Main Street Employee Ownership Act (S. 2786), which was introduced by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and cosponsored by Senator Risch. The bill would modernize ESOP lending at SBA and require SBDCs to be trained on this program. 

Section 2804- This section raises the threshold for small business set-aside contracts for architects and engineers from $300,000 to $1,000,000.