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LEGISLATIVE NEWS

Implementation of the Veterans First Contracting Program

NVSBC.COM– VA has issued more detailed directions to VA contracting officers on implementing VETS First. Please review and be aware.

As concerns arise or members identify opportunities where VA is not following VETS First please email Scott Denniston at .

Click on the following links to view the respective PDFs.

MEMORANDUM #1

MEMORANDUM #2


VA Must Exclusively Preference Small Biz High Court Rules

SDVOSBs and VOSBs are big winners today, as the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that the VA’s “rule of two” is mandatory, and applies to all VA procurements–including GSA Schedule orders.

See more at: smallgovcon.com

WASHINGTON – Supreme Court Rules 9-0 in favor of Service Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business. Congratulations to our fellow Veteran Owned Small Business, Kingdomware Technologies, Inc. for seeing this through! What guts, conviction, tenacity, and faith they demonstrated.

Excerpt from Law.360: The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that a law requiring the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to give preference to Veteran-Owned Small Businesses for procurements extends to all VA acquisitions, without exception, as long those businesses can meet the “rule of two.”

READ SUPREME COURT RULING


SBA Revises Size Standards for
Wholesale Trade and
Retail Trade Industries

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) increased small business size standards affecting businesses in 46 industries in North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) Sector 42, Wholesale Trade, and in one industry in Sector 44-45, Retail Trade. SBA retained the current size standards for the remaining industries in those sectors. The final rule was published in the Federal Register on January 25th and will be effective February 26, 2016.

As part of the review of all size standards under the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 (Jobs Act), SBA reviewed 73 employee based size standards in those sectors to determine whether they should be revised or retained.

READ MORE:

The revised size standards would define the maximum number of employees a firm in these industries could have and still be a small business. The revisions primarily affect the eligibility for SBA’s financial assistance programs. Nearly 4,000 more firms will become eligible for SBA’s loan programs under the revised size standards.

SBA also retained the current 500-employee size standard for federal procurement of supplies under its non-manufacturer rule. Wholesale Trade and Retail Trade NAICS codes and their size standards do not apply to procurement of supplies. Therefore, the revisions do not affect the eligibility for contracting opportunities for small businesses.

The final rule can be viewed at regulations.gov, identified by the following RIN number: RIN 3245-AG49.

In reviewing size standards, SBA takes into account the structural characteristics of individual industries, including average firm size, startup cost and entry barriers, the degree of competition, and small business share of federal government contracting dollars. This ensures that small business size definitions reflect current economic conditions and federal marketplace in those industries. Under the Jobs Act, SBA is required to review all size standards at least every five years.

A White Paper entitled, “Size Standards Methodology,“ which explains how SBA establishes, reviews, or modifies its receipts based and employee based small business size standards, can be viewed at http://www.sba.gov/size.

For more information about SBA’s revisions to its small business size standards for various industry sectors, click on “What’s New with Size Standards” on SBA’s Web site at sba.gov/size.


SBA Administrator Appoints
New Members to
Interagency Task Force on
Veterans Small Business Development

WASHINGTON – SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet has named four new members to the Interagency Task Force on Veterans Small Business Development.

The new task force members represent veteran service and military organizations and includes Victor Klingelhofer, Vietnam Veterans of America; Max Kidalov, Naval Postgraduate School; Davy Leghorn, America Legion; and Amanda Bainton, Military Officers Association of America.

READ MORE:

Each organization was selected based on their outreach and support of veteran small business ownership.

Vietnam Veterans of America has been instrumental in advocating for several public laws creating procurement opportunities for Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Businesses (SDVOSB).

The Naval Postgraduate School has supported SDVOSBs through prime contract awards and by educating Veteran-Owned Small Businesses (VOSB) and SDVOSBs on contracting issues. The American Legion has supported VOSBs through their work in advocating legislation creating contracting opportunities for SDVOSBs, and through their Small Business Task Force.

With their focus on supporting veterans and military spouses in their transition from uniformed service to civilian life, the Military Officers Association of America last year hosted more than 12,000 attendees during a nationwide series of second career workshops and military spouse career development symposia.

The task force is focused on increasing the number of veteran-owned businesses and the number of Americans – including other veterans – those businesses employ. Through public meetings, the task force gathers input and ideas that range widely in scope, strategy and feasibility.

Members of the task force work together to support veterans and service-disabled veteran small businesses by improving access to capital, providing counseling and training and increasing participation in government contracting opportunities.

Representatives from the Departments of Defense, Labor, Treasury, Veterans Affairs, the General Services Administration and the Office of Management and Budget, also serve on the task force.

The next task force meeting will be held at SBA’s headquarters in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, Dec. 10 from 9 a.m. to noon, and is open to the public.

For more information about the public meeting or the task force, E-Mail:


Bill to Let Vets Use GI Bill
To Start a Business
Passes Senate Hurdle

MILITARY.COM

A bill to allow post-9/11 vets to use their G.I. Bill benefits as collateral for business startups passed an important milestone in the Senate Wednesday with growing bipartisan support in Congress and the backing of major veteran organizations.

The Veterans Entrepreneurial Transition Act sponsored by Sens. Jerry Moran, R-Kans., and Jon Tester, D-Mont., won unanimous approval from the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee. Staff for Moran and Tester said they both would be working during the August Congressional recess to rally support for passage by the full Senate.

READ MORE:

“After serving our nation, many veterans want to continue their service by giving back to their communities as small business owners and entrepreneurs,” Moran said in a statement. “It's common sense to give them more flexibility and choice in their benefits to achieve their goals.”

“Our commitment to the brave men and women who serve our nation doesn't end when they return from war,” Tester said. “This bill will help veterans transition from the armed services to the private sector so they can succeed on Main Street.”

On the House side Wednesday, Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, R-Neb., a member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, introduced companion legislation on the Vet Act.

“I'm so proud to introduce this bill to help our veterans,” Fortenberry said. “With this legislation, qualified veterans will be able to use the skills acquired in the military to start a business to support themselves and their families as well as our communities and economy,” Fortenberry said.

In a joint statement, Sens. Moran and Tester said that nearly 550 service members transition from military to civilian life daily, and they estimated that 1 million service members will go through the transition in the next 3-5 years.

Currently, only about half of post-9/11 vets take advantage of the G.I. bill benefits for higher education or a specialized training program or apprenticeship, Moran and Tester said.

The Senate and House versions of the Vet Act would set up a three-year pilot program overseen by the Small Business Administration, in consultation with the Department of Veterans Affairs, to enable up to 250 G.I. Bill-eligible vets to start a new business or buy into an existing one, using the education benefits they would have received as collateral for loans.

Eligible vets would have to participate in an approved business training program and also develop a business plan approved by the SBA.

“This could be a game changer” in the effort to push the bill through Congress, C. Lynn Lowder, chief executive officer of the 1 Vet At A Time group, said of the Senate Committee's action.

“Our Iraq and Afghanistan veterans are hard-wired for success in the business world and the VET Act will provide the capital they need to start their own businesses,” said Lowder, a retired major who served with Marine Force Reconnaissance in Vietnam.

Lowder and retired Marine Lt. Col. Joe Plenzler, a board member at 1 Vet At A Time, began the uphill struggle for the bill last year by buttonholing members of Congress and their staffs, making the rounds of the think tanks, and seeking support from the retired four-star community.

They now have the support of the American Legion, the Small Business Administration, the National Guard Association, the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of American, the Military Business Owners Association, the Kauffman Foundation and the Association of Defense Communities.

In a letter to Moran Wednesday, American Legion National Commander Michael D. Helm said that the two-million member Legion “supports legislation that would extend the post-9/11 G.I. Bill Benefit to veteran entrepreneurs to finance their small businesses.”

“The fact that 62 percent of veteran-owned small businesses bootstrap their ventures with personal or family savings highlights the reality that access to capital remains an issue for the veterans' community,” Helm said.

In his letter of support to Moran, retired Navy Adm. James Stavridis, the former NATO Supreme Allied Commander from 2009-13, said “the fact is that many of our veterans, especially those that have done the ‘heavy lifting' in combat on multiple tours since 9/11, simply are not inclined to return to a college classroom filled with 18-year-olds.”

However, “their military experience and accomplishments have ‘hardwired' them for success in small business,” said Stavridis, who “strongly encouraged” all members of Congress to get behind the pilot program.

The post-9/11 G.I. Bill signed into law in July 2008 has often been compared to the World War II G.I. Bill (Servicemen's Re-Adjustment Act of 1944), although the current bill provides a more limited range of benefits.

The new G.I. Bill pays full tuition for public colleges and universities and a national maximum rate for private schools. It also covers vocational training, and contains a housing allowance and book stipend. In cases of extended military service, unused benefits can be transferred to a spouse or children.

In addition to tuition payments and living expenses for returning World War II vets, the old G.I. Bill included low-interest loans to start a business and also low-cost mortgages and one year of unemployment compensation.


Congress Approves Additional
7(a) Funding

July 27, 2015, Congress passed H.R. 2499. The bill includes an increase to the SBA 7(a) program cap to $23.5 billion. Appropriated funds for the 2015 fiscal year were originally approved at $18.75 billion. With this increase, the 7(a) program can continue to support American jobs and provide thousands of small businesses with access to the capital they desperately need.

READ MORE:

On the passing of H.R. 2499, Tony Wilkinson, President of the National Association of Government Guaranteed Lenders (NAGGL), stated, "We applaud the swift Congressional action to reopen the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) 7(a) program just days after it shutdown. Based on the unpredicted growth in the numbers of small business borrowers across the country searching for capital, it is not surprising that a lending cap set nearly 18 months ago was reached prior to the Fiscal Year’s end. By listening to small business needs, Congress has enabled 7(a) loans to continue creating private-sector driven jobs from the bottom up, a hallmark of the 7(a) program and its unique partnership with private-sector lenders. Throughout this Fiscal Year, we have seen unprecedented loan volume, an indication of a growing small business economy that still cannot find long-term financing from today’s over-regulated and cautious conventional market.

We thank the Administration, in particular SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet, and our champions in Congress for their leadership especially, Senators David Vitter (R-LA), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Jim Risch (R-ID), and Representatives Steve Chabot (OH-1) and Nydia Velazquez (NY-7). We are grateful for their work to quickly pass this bill to ensure continued access to much-needed capital for small business jobs across Main Street America.

So what are the next steps to get funding going again? Though H.R. 2499 has passed Congress, President Obama must sign the bill before it can become a law. Reports indicate that this will happen by Wednesday, July 29. Once this happens, the SBA will begin processing loans shortly thereafter.

In the meantime, NAGGL encourages SBA lenders to thank Senators and Representatives for their hard work and swift action regarding increasing 7(a) lending appropriations for the remainder of the 2015 fiscal year.

Senators: Vitter, Shaheen, Risch; and McConnell, Boozman, Cochran, Mikulski

Representatives: Chabot, Velazquez; and Boehner, McCarthy; and Rogers, Crenshaw, Lowey, Serrano, Chu (Judy), Rice

AND...

Senate Small Business Committee Members

House Small Business Committee Members


U.S. Congress Header

Dear Mr. Timothy R. Racey,

Thank you for contacting me with regard to federal highway funding. As your representative, I appreciate the opportunity to learn your views.

Like you, I agree that using federal highway funds in more efficient and innovative ways is in the best interest of the people of Michigan. As you may know, H.R. 4726, the "Innovation in Surface Transportation Act of 2014," is intended to promote innovative and cost effective technology through competition and local community input within states. Currently, this bill has been referred to the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure for further review. Please know that I will keep your views of this measure in mind should H.R. 4726 come to the floor of the house for a vote.

The privilege of representing you in Washington is one that I take very seriously. It is my hope that you will continue to contact me regarding any issue of importance to you and your family. Please feel free to contact my office at (202) 225-4735, or by email at www.benishek.house.gov if you have any further questions or concerns.

Sincerely,

Benishek Signature

Dan Benishek, MD
Member of Congress


Straight Talk: Six years of
Standing Up for Small Businesses

Sam Graves, Chairman
House Committee on Small Business

Dear Friends,

I became the Ranking Republican on the Committee on Small Business in 2009, and since 2011, I’ve served as Chairman. It’s been an extraordinary privilege. The members of this Committee understand the need to listen to entrepreneurs and make small businesses a priority in Washington policy debates. It’s been a pleasure to work side by side with experienced, dedicated colleagues to grow the economy and give small businesses a voice in the Capitol.

READ MORE:

Small businesses created 63 percent of net new jobs over the past 20 years, and a vibrant economy is only possible when our nation’s 28.2 million small businesses are healthy and optimistic. This week, the NFIB released a survey showing that we’ve made some important gains for small businesses, even while there’s work to be done to encourage innovation and job creation. Small business optimism is recovering, but employers are still cautious about new hires or capital investment.

In 2015, I’ll serve on other Committees, but I will still fight for small business. I am confident that Chairman-Elect Steve Chabot (R-OH) will continue to elevate the concerns of small businesses when he takes the helm of the Small Business Committee next year. Congress benefits greatly from Members with real-world small business experience and insight, and I encourage you to remain engaged so we can work together to support our nation’s entrepreneurs and preserve the American Dream for future generations.

Have a happy holiday season, and a great new year.

Sincerely,

Sam Graves


Bill Introduced
Eliminate Veteran Contract Confusion
Between SBA and VA

Sens. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and Angus King (I-Maine) introduced bipartisan legislation on Wednesday that would align veteran contracting programs within the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the Small Business Administration (SBA).

READ REST OF ARTICLE


U.S. House Committee Highlights Entrepreneurial Opportunities for Veterans

READ MORE:

A U.S. House Committee highlighted privately led initiatives that are helping veterans apply their skills to become entrepreneurs. The hearing focused on veteran-owned small businesses, and private sector efforts that are helping veterans succeed. Veterans who have served since 2001 face higher unemployment rates than the rest of the population, and by 2040, they will make up more than 50 percent of the total veteran population. While facing challenges in transitioning to new civilian jobs after time in the military, returning service members possess leadership skills that naturally translate to entrepreneurship. Several private sector initiatives are having success in guiding our nation’s heroes as they transfer unique skills gained during military service to the world of business.

Contracting reform legislation initiated by the Committee is moving forward. On Thursday, the House Armed Services Committee reported the FY2015 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which includes these small business bills. Last month, Chairman Graves and Small Business Subcommittee on Contracting and Workforce Chairman Richard Hanna (R-NY), with the support of Small Business Committee Member and Armed Services Committee Member Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO), testified before the Armed Services Committee in support of including contracting reforms in the NDAA. Read the news report by Bloomberg BNA.


NEW CLIENT
REQUEST FOR COUNSELING

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The U.S. Small Business Administration requires all clients to complete the Request for Counseling (Form 641). This form will act as our Confidentiality and Code of Conduct Agreements. All client information is held in strictest of confidence.

To start the process, please click on the above e-CENTER button to access our electronic Request for Counseling form. After submission, a counselor will contact you shortly.

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