Summary: S.1139 — 105th Congress (1997-1998)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Senate agreed to House amendment with amendment (10/31/1997)

TABLE OF CONTENTS:

Title I: Authorizations

Title II: Financial Assistance

Subtitle A: Microloan Program

Subtitle B: Small Business Investment Company Program

Subtitle C: Certified Development Company Program

Subtitle D: Miscellaneous Provisions

Title III: Women's Business Enterprises

Title IV: Competitiveness Program and Procurement

Opportunities

Subtitle A: Small Business Competitiveness Program

Subtitle B: Small Business Procurement Opportunities

Program

Title V: Miscellaneous Provisions

Title VI: Hubzone Program

Title VII: Service Disabled Veterans

Small Business Reauthorization Act of 1997 - Title I: Authorizations - Amends the Small Business Act (the Act) to authorize appropriations and provide funding levels for FY 1998 through 2000 for various programs under the Act and the Small Business Investment Act of 1958 (SBIA).

Title II: Financial Assistance - Subtitle A: Microloan Program - Amends provisions of the Act relating to the Microloan Program to: (1) increase to $3.5 million the total amount authorized to be outstanding and committed to any one intermediary under the Program; (2) revise loan loss reserve levels required of intermediaries during various years of participation; (3) extend through FY 2000 the Program authorization; and (4) allow a Microloan intermediary to expend up to 25 percent of grant funds to enter into third party contracts for the provision of technical assistance.

(Sec. 202) Establishes under the Program a welfare-to-work microloan initiative to test the feasibility of supplementing the technical assistance provided to individuals receiving assistance under the State program funded under part A (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) of title IV of the Social Security Act, or any other comparable State-funded program, in order to assist such individuals in establishing small businesses and eliminating their dependence on such assistance. Allows such assistance to be used to provide management, marketing, and technical assistance, or to pay child care and transportation costs of microborrowers (to the extent that such costs are not paid by State block grants or under part A of title IV of the Social Security Act). Authorizes the Small Business Administration (SBA) to select from participating Microloan intermediaries entities to receive supplemental grants under the welfare-to-work program. Allows borrowers under any Microloan program to use loan proceeds to establish child care centers or to provide transportation services. Directs the SBA to report annually to the small business committees on such initiative. Allows only funds transferred from another Federal department or agency to be used for the initiative. Limits the amount of funds that may be used under the initiative for each of FY 1998 through 2000.

Subtitle B: Small Business Investment Company Program - Amends provisions of the Act and the SBIA relating to the Small Business Investment Company (SBIC) Program to: (1) allow amounts obligated under the SBIC to be committed for five fiscal years (currently obligated in one fiscal year and committed in the next); (2) provide leverage eligibility requirements for SBIC applicants located in a State that is not currently served by an SBIC (underserved area); (3) exclude as private capital, for SBIC purposes, funds obtained from the business revenues of any federally chartered or government-sponsored corporation established prior to October 1, 1987; (4) authorize the SBA to prescribe fees for participation as an SBIC; (5) allow national, Federal Reserve, or nonmember insured banks to invest in SBICs or in entities established to invest solely in SBICs, with an investment limit; (6) allow the maximum amount of outstanding leverage made available to a participating SBIC to be increased annually to reflect changes in the Consumer Price Index; (7) limit to $90 million (with exceptions) the total amount of leverage issued to any one company; (8) require each leverage applicant to make certain certifications with respect to the amount of financings to be provided solely to smaller enterprises; (9) allow a participating company to make quarterly (currently, annual) payments to its shareholders based on estimates of maximum tax liability; (10) revise a leverage fee payment schedule; (11) direct the SBA to issue guarantees and trust certificates (representing debentures issued by SBICs) at least every six (currently, three) months; and (12) provide for the deposit and use of SBIC examination fees.

Subtitle C: Certified Development Company Program - Amends the SBIA with respect to the certified development company (CDC) program to: (1) authorize the use of seller-provided financing in connection with SBA loans for plant acquisition, construction, conversion, and expansion; (2) increase the loan fee under the CDC program; and (3) require such fee to be established annually by the SBA in the minimum amount necessary to reduce to zero the cost to the SBA of purchasing and guaranteeing debentures under the program.

Amends the SBIA with respect to the premier certified lenders program to: (1) repeal a provision limiting to 15 the number of CDCs authorized to participate; and (2) revise eligibility conditions and loss reserve requirements for participating CDCs (requiring replenishment of loss reserves paid to the SBA by CDCs). Requires participating companies to establish a goal of processing a minimum of at least 50 percent of their total loan applications pursuant to the program. Amends the Small Business Reauthorization and Amendments Act of 1994 to extend through FY 2000 the premier certified lenders program.

Subtitle D: Miscellaneous Provisions - Authorizes the Administrator to verify a general business loan applicant's criminal background through the best means available.

(Sec. 232) Directs the Administrator to: (1) report on actions taken and planned for future reliance on private sector lending resources to originate, approve, close, service, liquidate, foreclose, and litigate SBA general business loans; and (2) perform and complete the planning needed to serve as the basis for funding the development and implementation of a computerized SBA loan monitoring system (LMS). Requires the Administrator to report to the small business committees and the Comptroller General (CG) with respect to the LMS. Requires the CG to submit an evaluation of such report to the small business committees, prohibiting the obligation of any LMS funding until 45 days after such report is received.

Title III: Women's Business Enterprises - Amends the Women's Business Ownership Act of 1988 to: (1) require the Assistant Administrator of the Office of Women's Business Ownership to serve as the Interagency Committee Liaison to the National Women's Business Council; (2) require a report from the Interagency Committee on Women's Business Enterprise to be transmitted to the President through the SBA, and to include a status report on Committee progress in meeting its responsibilities and duties; (3) require the National Women's Business Council to submit to the President and the small business committees an annual activities report; (4) extend the deadline for presidential appointment of a chairperson for the Council; (5) increase from nine to 14 the number of Council members (and provide Council member terms); and (6) increase, and extend through FY 2000, the authorization of appropriations under such Act.

(Sec. 306) Directs the Council to study and report to the President and the small business committees on the award of Federal prime contracts and subcontracts to women-owned businesses. Requires a related best-practices report.

(Sec. 307) Authorizes the Council to conduct studies and other research relating to the award of Federal prime contracts and subcontracts to women-owned businesses, as well as access to credit and investment capital by women entrepreneurs.

(Sec. 308) Authorizes the SBA to provide financial assistance to private organizations to conduct five-year projects for the benefit of small businesses owned and controlled by women. Outlines participation conditions and Federal and non-Federal contribution requirements. Directs each applicant to submit to the SBA a five-year plan on proposed fund raising and training activities. Directs the SBA to evaluate and rank applicants based on predetermined selection criteria stated in terms of relative importance. Establishes the position of Assistant Administrator for the Office of Women's Business Ownership with specified duties in the administration of Office programs and services for women entrepreneurs. Directs the Administrator to: (1) develop an annual programmatic and financial examination of each women's business center; and (2) report annually to the small business committees on projects conducted. Authorizes appropriations. Allows: (1) authorized amounts to be used only for grant awards and not for program management and administration; and (2) for the use of expedited acquisition methods to carry out this section.

Title IV: Competitiveness Program and Procurement Opportunities - Subtitle A: Small Business Competitiveness Program - Amends the Small Business Competitiveness Demonstration Program Act of 1988 to: (1) extend permanently the small business competitiveness demonstration program; (2) require participating agencies to monitor the attainment of their small business participation goals on an annual (currently, quarterly) basis; (3) extend through FY 2000 required annual reports to the Congress concerning such program; and (4) extend permanently small business participation in contracting opportunities for dredging.

Subtitle B: Small Business Procurement Opportunities Program - Amends the Act to require each Federal agency to: (1) foster the participation of small businesses as prime contractors, subcontractors, and suppliers; (2) structure its contracting requirements to facilitate competition by and among small businesses; and (3) avoid the unnecessary and unjustified bundling of contracts that precludes small business participation as prime contractors. Defines "contract bundling" as consolidating two or more procurement requirements into a single contract solicitation unlikely for award to a small business due to the diversity, size or specialized nature of performance elements, the aggregate dollar value of the anticipated award, geographical dispersion of contract performance sites, or a combination of such factors.

(Sec. 413) Requires procurement strategies used by Federal contracting agencies to facilitate the maximum participation of small businesses as prime contractors, subcontractors, and suppliers. Requires the head of an agency to conduct market research to determine whether consolidation of contract requirements is necessary and justified, taking into account specified factors. Requires a strategy calling for contract bundling to identify benefits of such bundling as well as impediments caused to small businesses by such bundling. Allows a small business, in the case of contract bundling, to submit an offer that provides for the use of a team of subcontractors to perform the contract. Requires the SBA to determine whether a contract solicitation involves an unnecessary or unjustified bundling of contract requirements. Requires the Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization of each Federal contracting agency to identify proposed solicitations that involve significant contract bundling and to increase participation by small businesses in such solicitations as either prime contractors or subcontractors and suppliers.

(Sec. 414) Requires the Federal Procurement Data System to be modified to collect data regarding contract bundling when the contracting officer anticipates the resulting contract price to exceed $5 million.

(Sec. 415) Outlines factors to be designated as significant by a Federal agency for purposes of evaluating offers for a bundled contract that offers a significant opportunity for subcontracting.

(Sec. 416) Allows notices of subcontracting opportunities to be published in the Commerce Business Daily. Requires executive agencies awarding certain contracts in excess of $100,000 (currently, $25,000) to provide for publication of such award.

(Sec. 417) Provides deadlines for the issuance of regulations or proposed amendments to the Federal Acquisition Regulation required by this title.

Title V: Miscellaneous Provisions - Authorizes each Federal agency that has an extramural budget for research or research and development in excess of $1 billion for FY 1998 through 2001 to expend with small businesses not less than 0.15 percent of such budget specifically in connection with programs under the Small Business Technology Transfer Program (STTP).

Directs each Federal agency required to establish an STTP program to include as part of its annual performance plan a section on its STTP program, to submit such section to specified congressional committees, and to assess STTP program outputs and outcomes.

Authorizes the Administrator, for FY 1998 through 2001, to expend with eligible States not more than $2 million in each fiscal year to increase the participation of small businesses in STTP programs. Makes eligible for such participation those States which received less than $5 million for such programs during FY 1995.

(Sec. 502) Authorizes the Administrator to make grants to women's business centers for the establishment of small business development centers (SBDCs). Requires each SBDC to annually review and coordinate public and private partnerships and cosponsorships with the SBA in order to more efficiently leverage available resources on a national and State basis. Increases: (1) the maximum amount of grant funds available to a State SBDC participant; and (2) the services provided under the SBDC program. Requires matching State funds. Extends permanently and increases the authorization of appropriations for such program. Requires any contract under such program which is not renewed or extended to be made on a competitive basis. Prohibits a participating SBDC from imposing or collecting a fee for the provision of counseling services under the program.

(Sec. 503) Amends the Small Business Administration Reauthorization and Amendment Act of 1988 to extend through FY 2000 the pilot preferred surety bond guarantee program.

(Sec. 504) Amends the Small Business Administration Reauthorization and Amendments Act of 1994 to extend through FY 2000 the authority of the Administrator and private entities to cosponsor financial assistance to small businesses for computer security education and training programs. (Currently, such cosponsoring authority is scheduled to terminate at the end of FY 1997.)

(Sec. 505) Directs the SBA to submit to the small business comittees a copy of the draft and final plans describing the sale to the private sector of loans and other assets held by the SBA.

(Sec. 506) Includes among services provided by an SBDC providing small business owners with access to a wide variety of export-related information through on-line computer linkages. Authorizes appropriations for FY 1998 and 1999 for such services.

(Sec. 507) Authorizes the SBA Administrator to administer the Defense Loan and Technical Assistance program, as established by a memorandum of understanding between the Administrator and the Secretary of Defense on June 26, 1995, under which the Administrator assists small businesses that are economically dependent on defense expenditures to acquire dual-use (commercial and military) capabilities. Outlines program requirements and small business selection criteria. Limits to:

(1) $1.25 million the maximum amount of loan principal for which the Administrator may provide a loan guarantee under the program; and (2) 80 percent the maximum allowable guarantee percentage for loans so guaranteed. Provides program funding.

(Sec. 508) Amends the Small Business Administration Reauthorization and Amendments Act of 1994 to extend through FY 2000 a pilot program under which the Administrator provides increased access to Federal contract opportunities for very small businesses.

(Sec. 509) Directs the Administrator to coordinate Federal assistance in providing counseling to small businesses adversely affected by the North American Free Trade Agreement.

Title VI: Hubzone Program - HUBZone Act of 1997 - Amends the Act to provide qualification requirements for small businesses to receive Federal contracting assistance for locating in or relocating to historically underutilized business zones (HUBZones). Includes within such requirements that not less than 50 percent of the contract performance incurred for services or supplies be expended for employees or for the manufacturing of supplies in HUBZones. Requires a certification from the small business to the Administrator with respect to such requirements. Authorizes the Administrator to change the above percentage. Directs the Administrator to establish and maintain a list of qualified small businesses (QSBs) located in HUBZones.

Establishes within the SBA a program to provide for Federal contracting assistance to QSBs located in HUBZones.

Allows sole-source (single bidder) contracts to be awarded under limited circumstances (limiting the total value of such contracts). Requires a contracting officer to award a contract on the basis of competition restricted to QSBs if such officer determines that two or more QSBs will submit offers and that the award can be made at a fair market price. Provides a price evaluation preference to a QSB if its offer is not more than ten percent higher than the other offeror, as long as the other offeror is not a small business. Directs the Administrator to enforce the requirements of this title and to verify the eligibility of QSBs, including random program examinations. Provides penalties. Limits the application of this title to specified Federal departments and agencies during the period beginning with the enactment of this Act and ending on September 30, 2000.

(Sec. 606) Directs the Administrator to report to the small business committees on implementation of the HUBZone program.

(Sec. 607) Authorizes appropriations for such program for FY 1998 through 2000.

Title VII: Service Disabled Veterans - Directs the Administrator to study and report to the small business committees concerning: (1) the needs of small businesses owned and controlled by disabled veterans; (2) the availability and utilization of SBA programs by such small businesses; (3) the percentages and value of Federal contracts awarded to such small businesses during the past five fiscal years; and (4) methods to improve SBA and other programs to serve the needs of such businesses.

(Sec. 704) Directs the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to engage in efforts each fiscal year to identify such small businesses and to notify each such business that information on Federal procurement is available from the SBA.

(Sec. 705) Amends the Small Business Economic Policy Act of 1980 to require information concerning veteran-owned small businesses to be included in a required report concerning the state of small business.

(Sec. 706) Empowers the SBA to make loans to small businesses owned and controlled by disabled veterans.

(Sec. 707) Directs the Administrator to ensure that such small businesses have access to SBA programs that provide entrepreneurial training, business development assistance, counseling, and managerial assistance.

(Sec. 708) Authorizes the Administrator to make grants to, and enter into contracts and cooperative agreements with, various entities for the establishment and implementation of outreach programs for disabled veterans.

(Sec. 709) Directs the Administrator, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, and the Assistant Secretary of Labor for Veterans' Employment and Training to develop and implement a program of comprehensive outreach to assist disabled veterans.