Text: S.Hrg. 115-83 — NOMINATION OF ALTHEA H. COETZEE, OF VIRGINIA, TO BE DEPUTY ADMINISTRATOR OF THE SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION
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[Senate Hearing 115-83]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office]
S. Hrg. 115-83
NOMINATION OF ALTHEA H. COETZEE,
OF VIRGINIA, TO BE DEPUTY ADMINISTRATOR
OF THE SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION
COMMITTEE ON SMALL BUSINESS
UNITED STATES SENATE
ONE HUNDRED FIFTEENTH CONGRESS
MAY 11, 2017
Printed for the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship
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COMMITTEE ON SMALL BUSINESS AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP
ONE HUNDRED FIFTEENTH CONGRESS
JAMES E. RISCH, Idaho, Chairman
JEANNE SHAHEEN, New Hampshire, Ranking Member
MARCO RUBIO, Florida MARIA CANTWELL, Washington
RAND PAUL, Kentucky BENJAMIN L. CARDIN, Maryland
TIM SCOTT, South Carolina HEIDI HEITKAMP, North Dakota
JONI ERNST, Iowa EDWARD J. MARKEY, Massachusetts
JAMES M. INHOFE, Oklahoma CORY A. BOOKER, New Jersey
TODD YOUNG, Indiana CHRISTOPHER A. COONS, Delaware
MICHAEL B. ENZI, Wyoming MAZIE K. HIRONO, Hawaii
MIKE ROUNDS, South Dakota TAMMY DUCKWORTH, Illinois
JOHN KENNEDY, Louisiana
Skiffington E. Holderness, Republican Staff Director
Sean Moore, Democratic Staff Director
C O N T E N T S
Risch, Hon. James E., Chairman, and a U.S. Senator from Idaho.... 1
Shaheen, Hon. Jeanne, a U.S. Senator from New Hampshire.......... 2
Coetzee, Althea H., Rear Admiral of Virginia..................... 3
Coetzee, Althea H.
Prepared statement........................................... 6
Responses to questions submitted by Ranking Member Shaheen,
Senators Scott, Markey, Booker, Hirono, and Duckworth...... 18
Risch, Hon. James E.
Opening statement............................................ 1
Shaheen, Hon. Jeanne
Opening statement............................................ 2
NOMINATION OF ALTHEA H. COETZEE,
OF VIRGINIA, TO BE DEPUTY
ADMINISTRATOR OF THE SMALL BUSINESS
THURSDAY, MAY 11, 2017
United States Senate,
Committee on Small Business
The Committee met, pursuant to notice, at 10:30 a.m., in
Room 428A, Russell Senate Office Building, Hon. James Risch,
Chairman of the Committee, presiding.
Present: Senators Risch, Ernst, Inhofe, Shaheen, Cantwell,
Heitkamp, and Booker.
OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. JAMES E. RISCH, CHAIRMAN, AND A U.S.
SENATOR FROM IDAHO
Chairman Risch. The Committee will come to order, and thank
you all for coming today. There is lots and lots of stuff going
on on the Hill today, so we appreciate all those who attended.
Admiral, thank you so much for coming today, and submitting
yourself to what is going to be a rigorous process, I think you
will find, here on the Committee.
But, in any event, the purpose of the hearing this morning
is to have a hearing on the appointment by President Trump of
the Deputy Administrator to the Small Business Administration,
and Admiral Coetzee comes to us with that appointment from
President Trump. She is nominated to be the next Deputy
Administrator at the Small Business Administration.
Throughout the confirmation process, Real Admiral Coetzee
has complied with all the requests that have been made of her.
A careful and thorough review of her background, financial, and
tax history, and professional activities by the Small Business
Committee staff has found no evidence that should compromise
the nominee's confirmation.
Rear Admiral Coetzee has a distinguished military career
with several deployments on sea and land, including the global
war on terrorism. She is currently the Chief of Staff to the
Under Secretary of Defense Acquisitions, Technology, and
Logistics at the Department of Defense, undoubtedly an
interesting assignment for you for some time.
In her civilian capacity she has worked--has a breadth of
experience in a number of roles, including working for the City
Admiral Coetzee. Temecula.
Chairman Risch [continuing]. Temecula--just like it is
written--California. She held various management positions in
the manufacturing industry and in 2005, she founded a small
business called PRINT-KWIK, located also in that same city. So
we are glad to have someone with small business experience. We
do not always get that and we are very appreciative to have
So we will swear in the nominee. If you would rise, please,
and raise your right hand.
Do you solemnly swear the testimony you are about to give
to this Committee will be the truth, the whole truth, and
nothing but the truth, so help you God?
Admiral Coetzee. I do.
Chairman Risch. Thank you very much. You may be seated.
And are you going to represent the minority here? We can
probably dispense if----
Senator Cantwell. Mr. Chairman, I am sure that my colleague
will be here and want to enter her own statement for the
Chairman Risch. Okay.
Senator Cantwell. But, yes, we are represented here.
Chairman Risch. You are that, and very well, so thank you
Well, with that, Admiral, We are going to turn it over to
you to tell us what you want to tell us, and then we will have
some very deep and probing questions for you, I have no doubt.
Admiral Coetzee. Thank you, Chairman Risch.
Chairman Risch. Oops. Wait a second. That is all right.
Please mark Senator Shaheen tardy.
You will stay after.
Senator Shaheen. Story of my life.
Chairman Risch. Did you want to make an opening statement?
Senator Shaheen. I would like to make an opening statement.
Chairman Risch. Okay. Please. Did you want to go ahead?
Senator Shaheen. Please.
Mr. Chairman, is it your understanding there is a vote at
Chairman Risch. There is a vote at 11:00, and I am
expecting that we are going to be done here at that time, or
possibly before that, I would think, depending upon----
Senator Shaheen. Okay.
Chairman Risch [continuing]. Where you want to go to with
Senator Shaheen. Okay. All right. All right.
Chairman Risch. That is aspirational at this point.
OPENING STATEMENT OF HON. JEANNE SHAHEEN, RANKING MEMBER, AND A
U.S. SENATOR FROM NEW HAMPSHIRE
Senator Shaheen. Well, thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank
you to Admiral Coetzee. Hopefully I am pronouncing your name
correctly. It is wonderful to have you here before the
Committee and I apologize for being late. But I really did want
to take a minute--and I will submit my full statement for the
record--to thank you for being willing to take on this
And I just want to point out, as I am sure you already
know, that small businesses are a critical part of this
country's economy. Two out of every three, or two-thirds of new
jobs that are created are created from small businesses and
they get 16 times more patents per employee than large
businesses. And the SBA and all of its programs are really
critical to so many small businesses. In my State of New
Hampshire, where 99 percent of our employers are small
businesses, that is the case, and there are a number of
critical programs that the SBA runs that are very important to
those small businesses.
So when--during her confirmation hearing, Administrator
McMahon was very passionate about small business and about what
the SBA could do to support them, and I know that the Deputy
Administrator position is key to improving SBA's programs and
making sure that they work the way that they are supposed to.
So I am looking forward to hearing your responses to our
questions, and again, very much appreciate that you are taking
on a role that is going to be critical in the operations of the
Small Business Administration. So thank you.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Chairman Risch. Thank you much. Admiral, the floor is
TESTIMONY OF REAR ADMIRAL ALTHEA H. COETZEE, OF VIRGINIA,
NOMINATED TO BE DEPUTY ADMINISTRATOR, SMALL BUSINESS
Admiral Coetzee. Thank you, Chairman Risch, Ranking Member
Shaheen, members of the Committee. I am deeply honored to be
here to appear before you and the Committee today.
I would like to thank President Trump for nominating me to
the position of Deputy Administrator of the U.S. Small Business
Administration. I would also like to thank Administrator Linda
McMahon for her guidance and advice in this process. She is an
inspirational leader and, if confirmed, I look forward to
supporting her in achieving her vision to help America's small
businesses and entrepreneurs achieve their maximum potential. I
would also like to thank the professional staff of the
Committee for their time and assistance in the confirmation
Behind me today is my mother, Mrs. Althea F. Coetzee; my
fiance, DeWayne Leslie; and his daughter and son-in-law, Casey
and Tony Ramos; and several close friends and colleagues who
have graciously come here to support me today. I know my dad
would have loved to be here, and I can assure you he is looking
down right now with a huge, proud smile.
My dad's love for his country and his pride in the United
States were reflected in all he did. From the time I can
remember, he and my mom instilled in me an entrepreneurial
spirit that I can achieve my dreams, do whatever I set my mind
to doing, and be whatever I want to be. I am eternally grateful
for my mother's unwavering support throughout my career, and
for the support of my fiance and my friends, who constitute my
extended family represented here today. I would not be here if
it were not for all of you.
I am especially honored to be considered for the position
of Deputy Administrator because of the importance of small
business to President Trump. Kicking off National Small
Business Week last Monday, he said, ``Small business owners
embody the American pioneering spirit and remind us that
determination can turn aspiration into achievement. This week
we affirm our commitment to removing government barriers to the
success of American small businesses.''
I share our President's commitment to small businesses, as
well as Administrator McMahon's commitment to ensuring the U.S.
Small Business Administration successfully advances its
mission. If confirmed, I look forward to supporting
Administrator McMahon in her goals of providing the necessary
tools for small businesses to gain access to capital, for
entrepreneurs to receive relevant counseling services, and for
small businesses, especially those owned by women, veterans,
and minorities, to have opportunities for Federal contracts.
I am excited to be considered for the Deputy Administrator
position because my roots take me back to small business
entrepreneurship. As a pre-teen, I started delivering
newspapers for a neighbor, and was assigned 10-12 papers to
deliver each afternoon. By the time I graduated high school, I
had grown my newspaper enterprise into a total of five routes,
for both morning and evening editions. I revisited this
entrepreneurial spirit later in life. I am very proud to have
started a small printing business with two other business
partners. Like other entrepreneurs, we started with an idea,
put together a business plan, and sought the capital to realize
our goals. I can say that after only three months of operating,
we were in the black and well on our way. I have since sold my
share of the business but I am pleased to say it is still going
My experience in leading and managing organizations of all
sizes in the military, public, and private sectors has uniquely
qualified me for the position of Deputy Administrator. If
confirmed, I will retire from the Navy as a two-star rear
admiral, having achieved the highest rank attainable in my
career. I will leave my last post as Chief of Staff to the
Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and
Logistics, managing a staff of 1,200 military, civilian, and
contractor personnel. In my roles with the Office of the Under
Secretary, I have been responsible for oversight and execution
of multiple programs and led cross-functional teams that
support the mission of the Department of Defense. If confirmed,
I look forward to applying that same oversight and execution to
the mission of the U.S. Small Business Administration.
In my most recent assignments, I have directed and managed
organizations ranging from 50 to over 10,000 personnel
worldwide, with budgets exceeding $1 billion. These include
U.S.-based commands as well as humanitarian and combat forces
deployed worldwide. I have been responsible for developing,
approving, and managing budgets, personnel, logistics, and
supply chain operations, and innovative business information
technology solutions for the Navy, Marine Corps, and Department
of Defense. During periods of severe budget constraints, I have
led efforts to recapitalize Enterprise Resourcing Planning
solutions, and tied these efforts to zero-based reviews of
staff and operations to devise the most efficient organization
composition to operate within budget.
In my civilian career, in addition to owning a small
business, I managed manufacturing engineering, quality
engineering, and operations for a Fortune 100 medical device
manufacturer before returning to government service as a civil
servant to manage contracting operations for the Marine Corps.
In my 25-plus years as a contracting professional, I most
recently managed seven geographically diverse satellite field
offices in addition to the main operation. On military
deployments, I was based in Djibouti, Africa, but responsible
for contracting activities located in Yemen and throughout
Africa, and I was based in Kabul and responsible for
contracting activities throughout Afghanistan and as far off as
Qatar. In my first such experience managing field offices, I
came to appreciate the importance of ensuring all offices felt
they were part of the mission, especially when it came to
decisions that impacted the entire organization. In these
organizations, as well as in other professional positions, I
recognized the importance of ``one team, one fight.'' That is,
no matter what the status of the employee, whether active or
reserve military, government civilian or political appointee,
or contractor, each is an integral part of the organization.
Each plays a vital role and is accountable for achieving the
If confirmed, I look forward to advising Administrator
McMahon on contracting matters to maximize opportunities for
small businesses. I also look forward to applying my skills in
managing geographically diverse organizations to ensure all SBA
offices understand the mission and are equal partners in
achieving the Administrator's goals and objectives.
I am especially thrilled to be considered for the Deputy
Administrator role because I see this is as an opportunity to
continue to serve my country in a new capacity, where I can
apply the skills that I have honed over careers in the
military, public and private sectors to help the U.S. Small
Business Administration successfully carry out its mission and
to help small business owners achieve their dreams.
Once again, I would like to thank you for the opportunity
to share my service, experiences, and enthusiasm for the
position of Deputy Administrator of the U.S. Small Business
Thank you for your leadership, Chairman Risch and Ranking
Member Shaheen. If confirmed, I look forward to working with
you. I am very happy to take your questions now. Thank you very
[The prepared statement of Admiral Coetzee follows:]
[GRAPHIC(S) NOT AVAILABLE IN TIFF FORMAT]
Chairman Risch. Thank you, Admiral. You certainly come to
us well qualified. You know, the first business I ever started
was also a paper route, and it got big and unwieldy but I never
thought about subcontracting that. That was a great idea but it
is too late now to go back.
In any event, thank you so much for agreeing to take this
on. Senator Shaheen.
Senator Shaheen. Well, thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
We have [off microphone]. As I said, 99 percent of our
businesses are small businesses in New Hampshire, and I really
learned to appreciate the SBA when I first got elected to the
State Senate in the early 1990s, because five of our seven
largest banks were closed by the FDIC, and I very clearly
remember those pictures of the doors being padlocked of those
banks. And the only thing that kept New Hampshire's economy
afloat during that period was the SBA, and the lending through
So I know how critical it is, and it continues to play that
kind of a role. Right now we have two openings in our SBA in
New Hampshire, and I would hope that you would pledge to ensure
that you will work with us as closely as possible to fill those
positions so we can have people back out working with our small
Admiral Coetzee. Senator Shaheen, I very much appreciate
the need to have resources to carry out the mission of the
Small Business Administration and our field offices are the
outreach that we have that reach those local communities. So I
will commit to you that if I am confirmed I will work very
diligently to make sure that those positions are filled by
Senator Shaheen. Thank you very much. A couple of weeks ago
we had a hearing, talking about the challenges that are faced
by rural businesses in this committee, and one of the companies
that I talked about is a small precision manufacturing business
in Claremont, New Hampshire, that had just gotten HUBZone
status. And I had a chance to visit them, and they were so
excited because of the 200 or so businesses in the United
States that have similar certifications as Costa, that does, as
I said, precision manufacturing, there are only 6 of them that
have HUBZone status. So they were looking at that as an
opportunity to really compete for government contracts in a way
that they would not have been able to do without having that
One of the challenges, however, is as they were waiting for
the status for that certification, they had to wait months,
literally, because of shortages at SBA, because of the
organization. It is not clear to me why it has taken--why it
took them so long to get that certification done. And I think
that is one problem that we need to address within SBA. The
other is that right now there are only--well, HUBZones are
supposed to get about 3 percent of government contracts. We are
only halfway there, in terms of fulfilling that requirement.
So I wonder, first, if you could talk about strategies that
you might see, especially given your work at the Department of
Defense, to encourage government to look at those HUBZone
companies, and also the commitment that you will make to take a
look at this program and see how we can make sure that it is
functioning the way it should.
Admiral Coetzee. Thank you for that question, Ranking
Member Shaheen. If confirmed, I will look--use my background in
the DoD and contracting and my associative work with the Small
Business Administration as a contracting professional to make
sure that those businesses who are covered under the law have
the opportunities that they are entitled to and we maximize
those opportunities. Being a nominee, I am not familiar with
exactly what the Small Business Administration has done in
these areas, but I know that this is a priority for
Administrator McMahon, and if confirmed I look forward to
working with her as well as the Committee on seeing what we can
do to reach these businesses and make sure that they are
afforded the maximum opportunities for Federal contracts.
Senator Shaheen. Well, thank you. I think we need to make
sure that our small businesses are able to take advantage of
the programs that exist when they are there, and make sure that
all of government is complying with those programs.
One of the other challenges that I know faces every Federal
agency is keeping up with the technology and making regulations
simple enough so that people can understand them. I know that
this has been a challenge within SBA to have the technology to
allow people to engage with SBA online. So, again, I would ask
if you would take a look--commit to take a look at this aspect
of the way SBA operates, and let us know what we need to do to
support SBA to make sure that you can better serve your
Admiral Coetzee. That is a high priority, I know, for the
Administrator, and if confirmed it is a high priority for
myself. I have had feedback from small businesses, even in my
current role, as the frustration with accessing the systems and
the complexities of some of the regulations that govern them.
So I do look forward to working with the Administrator and with
the Committee to see how we can best streamline, simplify, and
make accessible the programs that are available through the
Small Business Administration.
Senator Shaheen. Thank you very much. Thank you, Mr.
Chairman Risch. Thank you.
Senator Inhofe. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. It is not very
often that we get someone that is going through confirmation
that is nearly the perfect one, and I think you come very
close. It was such a relief to me. In my State of Oklahoma we
have five major military establishments, and we have the--it
may be the largest percentage of retired veterans in my State
of Oklahoma. It is a great place to live and a lot of people,
when they are stationed there, they just do not leave.
So we have a lot of those guys there, and I--the first
thing I noticed when your name floated across was you have this
military background, which was a sigh of relief for me. And the
only thing I want to talk about, just very briefly, as we do
have a vote coming up, is the fact that we do have a--you have
a special role that you can play with veterans' organizations.
You have a--you have worked closely with them in the past, and
we have a program where you have the collaboration between the
SBA and the veterans, and how you have seen the landscape for
veteran-owned businesses change over the years.
Can you just address what your thoughts are on how you can
use your background to help our situation with the veterans,
getting them employed and active in small businesses?
Admiral Coetzee. Thank you for that question, Senator. I am
obviously very interested in making sure that our veterans,
both returning warriors, both retiring, those who have served
in any capacity, whether active or reserve, have opportunities
as veterans, and I see opportunities for a partnership with the
Veterans Administration and other organizations to help the
veterans find more opportunities for starting their own
business and also employing, or employment.
The Small Business Administration is focused on veterans,
women-owned, minority-owned, and ANCs, 8(a)s, HUBZones, and I
see the veterans as one of the keys to the future of our
economy. There is a lot of talent out there that is waiting to
be tapped into, and if confirmed, I will do what I can to work
towards making those programs available to the veterans through
our field offices, through the Small Business Administration
centralized, and whatever we can do to provide those
opportunities for veterans.
Senator Inhofe. Yeah. You know, I appreciate the fact that
you used the distinction between the veterans and the returning
warriors, and we have both, and they both have a very similar
problem. There is a program within the SBA that specifically
addresses veterans. Have you been studying this stuff long
enough, even though you have not been involved with the SBA for
a long period of time, to be familiar with those programs?
Admiral Coetzee. I am not familiar with the specifics of
the programs but I do have friends and colleagues who are
veterans who have started their own businesses and they have
shared with me some of their experiences and frustrations.
Senator Inhofe. Well----
Admiral Coetzee. So there are areas where I know we can
improve and reach a bigger population of veterans, particularly
those who are frustrated and are apprehensive of starting a
business because of what they perceive to be some of the
Senator Inhofe. Well, we look forward to your leadership in
that, so we are going to enjoy it.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Chairman Risch. Thank you, Senator.
Senator Booker. Thank you, and I want to thank Chairman
Inhofe because veterans actually have better rates at starting
businesses, show more success when they do, and I am grateful
for the emphasis of this committee on that.
I am concerned a lot about the fact that small businesses
are often disadvantaged when it comes to the government
procurement process. And we have tremendous opportunity but the
way that we do procurement rules, and the DoD has been really
having a difficult time meeting the threshold that Congress set
for it, about 23 percent with small businesses. Especially when
it comes to the new sort of tech world that we live in, often
small, capable, better able tech firms do not even try to go
through the government contracting process.
So I do not know if you have any ideas or thoughts about
this, especially with your background working in the military.
Admiral Coetzee. Thank you for that question, Senator
Booker. I do have some feelings about that, and if confirmed I
will work very diligently to, again, simplify some of the IT
programs that we have that make the Small Business
Administration seem difficult and inaccessible, and also to
leverage the field offices that we have and provide education
and training to those offices on how they can better reach
those disadvantaged businesses. Those disadvantaged businesses
are critical to the economic base, particularly in areas where
they exist and there are not other opportunities.
In Federal contracts, I do not know specifically how those
metrics are calculated with the Small Business Administration,
but one of the areas that I would like to look at is what are
we capturing. Are those meaningful metrics, and are they really
telling the story that we are trying to convey, and are they
reaching those populations that we are trying to reach?
Senator Booker. Thank you very much.
Do you believe the Federal Government should be doing more
to help women and minorities start businesses and get engaged?
Admiral Coetzee. Before I can make a concerted opinion on
that I would like to see what the Small Business Administration
is doing and what Federal laws are we implementing, or,
actually, following through with to make sure that we are
meeting the intent of the law, giving the opportunities. And
then once I have assessed that with the Administrator and
Committee, then we can determine if maybe there is more we can
do, or maybe we are just not doing enough with what we have.
Senator Booker. Okay. And so there are efforts going on
that I have been encouraging since I have gotten here. The
Obama Administration made some pretty good strides in extending
more loans to entrepreneurs of color and women businesses. We,
as a country, desperately need more women to be engaged in
that, and I am hoping it is something that you will focus on
and that my office can partner with you on as well.
We cannot compete globally, frankly, or we cannot even
create the kind of jobs we need if we are leaving large
portions of our populations on the sidelines when it comes to
being entrepreneurs. And it is just an area of emphasis for me,
and I really hope that you and I can find a way to work
together on that.
Admiral Coetzee. If confirmed, I look forward to working
with you and doing that.
Senator Booker. Thank you very much. And any bias that you
have towards the State of New Jersey would be appreciated as
You know, an SBA study found that--and we talk about this a
lot in this committee--that two in every three net new jobs
that are being created, as you probably know, are being created
by small businesses. And so, you know, I just think that our--
us, as a society, need to be focused a lot more on sort of
bringing more--helping to encourage more businesses to come to
fruition. And there are programs, like the Emerging Leaders
program, the ScaleUp America, that assist business owners.
These programs help to expand operations and create more local
jobs. It is just so critical.
And so I am just wondering, starting a business is one
thing, but helping small businesses expand is another thing.
And do you have any thoughts about how do you help business
owners expand their business operations, and can you make some
commitment to us that you are going to be interested in
supporting the programs that already exist, that help for those
Admiral Coetzee. Yes, Senator. If confirmed, I will work
towards helping small businesses expand, because the whole goal
of small businesses starting is to grow those businesses, and
to maybe graduate from those programs into medium-small
businesses, medium-large businesses, and then large businesses.
So the success of a small business as a business entity is--can
be, dependent on the services and the support that the Small
Business Administration is able to afford them. So I do look
forward to working with Administrator McMahon as well as the
Committee on trying to achieve those objectives.
Senator Booker. And the last thing, I saw her yesterday so
it is fresh in my mind, Dina Powell, who is--interestingly, she
helped lead Goldman Sachs' 10,000 Women businesses.
Extraordinary program that had a lot of private sector success,
a wealth of knowledge. It is a shame that she is doing
international foreign policy work but I am hoping it is
somebody that you might talk to about how to really be
successful, and also the potential for creating public-private
partnerships, which we do not talk about enough, I think, in
terms of helping small businesses thrive and succeed.
But thank you very much, and I appreciate your service to
our country. It is an extraordinary thing that people would
volunteer for a post like this. It ain't the pay, so it is a
tribute to your commitment and your patriotism and I appreciate
Admiral Coetzee. Thank you, Senator Booker.
Chairman Risch. Thank you, Senator Booker. Senator Ernst, I
do not think a lieutenant colonel outranks an admiral, but in
Senator Ernst. Absolutely not.
Thank you, and, admiral, thank you so much for being here,
and congratulations on your nomination. We certainly appreciate
your service, just as Senator Booker said, so thank you.
One of the issues I am working on, and I am going to tag
onto what Senator Booker was actually talking about, is an
issue of addressing small businesses and their access to
Federal contracting opportunities. And last week Senator
Gillibrand and I introduced legislation that directs the SBA to
conduct a comprehensive study on women-owned small business
participation in multiple award contracts from the Federal
Government. And this study would address concerns that the
women-owned small businesses are under-represented in those
MACs, and would also examine the participation of all other
socioeconomic categories of small businesses, including
service-connected disabled veteran-owned small businesses and
those that are participating in Historically Underutilized
Business Zones, or HUBZone programs.
So considering you have extensive knowledge in Federal
contracting, do you have any thoughts on this issue, or what
additional things we can do beyond the study to help with
women-owned small businesses?
Admiral Coetzee. Thank you for that question, Senator. Yes,
I believe that we--as I mentioned earlier, we need to look at
the metrics that we are capturing and how are we measuring the
success of these programs, and once we understand are those the
right metrics then how are we reaching out to these entities?
What are we doing to make these opportunities available? Are
there more set-aside opportunities that we should be taking
advantage of that maybe we are not? Are the multiple awards the
right vehicle for small businesses to compete with large
businesses or should we have other venues where it is purely
small business multi-awards?
So those are some of the initial thoughts that I have, but
if confirmed I will put a lot of effort into this area.
Senator Ernst. Well, I appreciate that very much, and I
think many of us would agree that our small businesses, what
they really need most is the favorable regulatory environment.
And for this reason I have spent the last year or so working on
legislation that gives small businesses a stronger voice in the
regulatory process, and that act is called the Prove It Act.
And the bill that I have proposed seeks to strengthen the voice
of small business owners and improve the quality of agency
certifications and analysis.
And in the event that a number of Federal agencies have a
difference of opinion between that agency and the Office of
Advocacy on the economic impact of a rule--and we saw this
instance with Waters of the United States, the expanded
definition, and we have seen other rules like that, where there
was a difference of opinion between the different agencies--the
Prove It Act would give the Office of Advocacy the opportunity
to request that an agency take a second look at its analysis.
We do not do that right now. I feel it is a good government
bill that would encourage Federal agencies to more carefully
consider the impacts of their rules on small businesses.
And can I get a commitment from you to work with me on this
legislation and help implement it? I have discussed this act
with Administrator McMahon on multiple occasions and she has
agreed that this would be a good bill to work on together. Can
I also get your commitment?
Admiral Coetzee. Thank you for the question, Senator. If
Administrator McMahon is committed to supporting this, if
confirmed, I am committed to supporting Administrator McMahon
and working with you on this bill.
Senator Ernst. Thank you.
Admiral Coetzee. I think it is important.
Senator Ernst. I appreciate it. We all want to work
together and make sure government is doing what it should do,
but certainly getting out of the way when it needs to as well.
So thank you very much, admiral. Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Chairman Risch. Thank you, Senator.
That concludes our hearing. Admiral, thank you again so
much for agreeing to take this on.
For the record, I want to state that the deadline for
questions for the record is close of business tomorrow, Friday
the 12th. The record will also be kept open for two weeks to
edit statements, submit letters, and any other relevant
materials. However, having said that, Senator Shaheen and I are
both of the frame of mind that we ought to move this rapidly.
We are going to do our best to have the Committee vote on this
next week and get this moving. I think it is in the best
interest of everyone that we get you to where you can do a lot
more good for America.
Again, thank you so much, and with that the hearing is
[Whereupon, at 11:08 a.m., the Committee was adjourned.]
APPENDIX MATERIAL SUBMITTED
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