Rush Reintroduces H.R. 2424 the "Expanding Opportunities for Main Street Act" and Urges Bipartisan Support to Strengthen Small Business
CONTACT: Renee Ferguson
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WASHINGTON –– U. S. Rep. Bobby L. Rush (D-IL) today introduced H.R. 2424, the “Expanding Opportunities for Main Street Act,” a bill that seeks to amend the Small Business Act to allow for greater participation in the Disadvantaged Business Assistance Program while also elevating the federal, small business procurement goal for all federally designated U.S. small businesses to a permanent, new level of 25 percent. Rush introduced his bill on the same day that companion legislation was introduced in the U.S. Senate by Tom Udall (D-NM).
“It’s not just a cliché to say that small businesses are the economic driver of America’s future,” said Rush who introduced similar legislation in the 111th Congress. “According to a story in yesterday’s USA Today, those seeking work in a post-recession American economy are finding that employers are seeking men and women who are able to assume multiple roles—people the story described as workers who are good at a lot of things. Given the grit, determination, creativity and passion for excellence that drive our nation’s small business leaders, I can think of no better place to invest federal resources than in companies led by skilled people who think outside the box while being disciplined enough to meet or exceed expectations on time and within a budget. The bills that I and my friend, Senator Udall, are introducing today represent solid investments in our nation’s economic future by supporting those whose passion for creating jobs and supporting their communities is second to none. I will work tirelessly to gain bipartisan support for both of these bills as each cuts through government red tape while providing resources to help innovators innovate.”
Rush crafted H.R. 2424 in a manner that expands or amends a series of incentives and stabilization mechanisms aimed at better positioning small businesses to compete and thrive in our global economy.
Key provisions in “Division A” include raising the cap for contracts set aside for small businesses to $500,000, modifying the SBA’s Disadvantaged Business Development Program by raising the Personal Net Worth Threshold to $1.5 million, raising the federal surety bonding guarantee to $5 million, and extending a key Obama Administration SBA ARC loan program through September, 2011.
“Small business owners in New Mexico are often frustrated with the federal contracting process. They tell me it's too complex, too difficult to navigate and places them at a disadvantage against larger firms,” Udall said. “This bill will help New Mexico small businesses create jobs while benefiting from federal entities in our own backyard.”
In addition, the bill seeks to strengthen the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) through a series of steps including providing technical and contracting assistance to qualified minority businesses, and by authorizing the Director of the MBDA to provide loan guarantees to qualified minority businesses up to $500,000. In addition, this section meets the long standing request by U. S. small businesses for the creation of a national database of minority firms which federal, prime contractors may refer to when looking for firms to partner with in subcontracts.
This legislation has already gained the support of several leading civic and business organizations including Harry C. Alford, President/CEO of the National Black Chamber of Commerce. Alford expressed his support for this legislation by stating, “This proposed legislation, the Expanding Opportunities for Main Street Act, is very timely. The federal government is doing only 0.3% procurement with Black-owned firms and SBA lending to Black firms has dropped 80%. We have to turn this around and the National Black Chamber of Commerce firmly believes that this will be the beginning of a big turnaround.”
This bill provides a series of long overdue provisions that enhance the power of the Small Business Administration to be a stronger, more effective advocate for innovative entrepreneurs by expanding or amending a series of incentives and stabilization mechanisms aimed at better positioning small businesses to compete and thrive in our global economy.
Key provisions include:
- Raising the cap for contracts set aside from $100,000 for small businesses to $500,000. Modifies the SBA’s Disadvantaged Business Development Program by raising the Personal Net Worth Threshold to $1.5 million (currently is $750,000).
- The bill also raises the federal surety bonding guarantee to $5 million, and extends a key Obama Administration Recovery Provision: The SBA ARC loan program through September, 2011.
- Broadening the definition of contract bundling to force contracting officers to break up large contracts to increase small business participation.
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A link to a pdf copy of the bill as introduced is posted below.