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House Panel Clears Last of SBA Reauthorization Bills

On October 18, the House Small Business Committee approved two bills that would reauthorize programs at the Small Business Administration (SBA): the Small Business Contracting Program Improvements Act (H.R. 3867) and the Small Business Programs Act (H.R. 3866). The Small Business Committee held a hearing on potential federal contracting legislation on October 4 (see The Source, 10/05/07).

The committed approved, 21-4, the Small Business Contracting Program Improvements Act. The bill seeks to expand federal procurement opportunities for 8(a), women-owned, HUBZones, and service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses. Among other things, H.R. 3867 would direct the SBA administrator to conduct a study at least every five years to identify industries in which women-owned small businesses are underrepresented in federal contracting, and would limit competition for federal contracts to economically disadvantaged women business owners in industries that historically have been closed to them.

The committee passed, by voice vote, H.R. 3866. The measure would reauthorize through FY2009 several SBA lending programs, including the Women’s Business Center and Small Business Development Center programs and the National Women’s Business Council. The bill would authorize $17 million for the Women’s Business Center program in FY2008 and $17.5 million in FY2009; $140 million and $145 million in FY2008 and FY2009, respectively, would be authorized for the Small Business Development Center program. H.R. 3866 also would authorize $20 billion in both FY2008 and FY2009 for the 7(a) loan program (SBA’s primary loan program, which guarantees private-sector loans to small businesses); and $110 million in FY2008 and $120 million in FY2009 for the SBA microloan program, which provides loans to small businesses with fewer than five employees. In June, the House approved legislation to expand the Women’s Business Center program (see The Source, 6/22/07).

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