SBA Reauthorization: An Opportunity to Improve Program Relevance, Further Protect Small Biz from Extreme Regulation

By at 24 July, 2019, 9:56 am


For Immediate Release

Washington, D.C. – Today, the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship will begin to markup legislation to reauthorize the Small Business Administration (SBA), which will fully modernize the agency and improve its relevancy and impact for small businesses and the economy. Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council (SBE Council) president & CEO Karen Kerrigan said these changes are long overdue, and praised Chairman Marco Rubio (R-FL) for his leadership.

“Encouraging entrepreneurship, the growth of small businesses, and the scaling of high-potential firms requires new thinking and approaches, and many elements included in changes to the Small Business Act reflect what is needed to make the SBA more relevant and effective in these areas. The Act has not been comprehensively updated for nearly 20 years, and obviously so much has changed in the economy and ecosystem that impacts the delivery and relevancy of SBA programs.”

In a July 23 letter to Chairman Rubio and Ranking Member Ben Cardin (D-MD) praising various bipartisan elements of the SBA Reauthorization and Improvement Act of 2019, Kerrigan highlighted the reorganization and streamlining of key programs such as SBA’s export programs, the various lending programs, and the Small Business Investment Companies (SBIC), Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. As Chairman Rubio has communicated about these reforms, they will help entrepreneurs and small businesses better compete in the economy and with aggressive nations – like China – and align SBA services with modern realties. As he wrote in a recent Op-ed in Real Clear Politics:

“Today, it is time to renew this mission of supporting the innovative entrepreneurs who create meaningful jobs. American small businesses face new challenges in the 21st century, and the current incarnation of the Small Business Act is ill-equipped for the task.”

Kerrigan also emphasized the importance of strengthening and broadening the scope of the Office of Advocacy – the small business regulatory watchdog in the federal government – to ensure uniform and consistent action by federal regulators when they consider and review how proposed rules impact small businesses, which they are required to do. As Kerrigan noted in her letter:

“The improvements within Title IX of the Small Business Act bring uniformity to the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) and add unambiguous language that will inform federal agencies about their responsibilities under the RFA. These are welcome changes. It is critical that agencies across the federal government act consistently during the rulemaking process, as small businesses dominate almost every industry sector.”

Unfortunately, it is expected that amendments will be offered by Democrats on the Committee to strip these common-sense reforms. A change being pursued by Chairman Rubio, for example, would give small businesses a more meaningful voice during the regulatory process by extending their participation on additional federal panels that listen to their concerns and the impact of proposed rules. The Department of Labor, Internal Revenue Service, the Department of Interior, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and SBA would be added to the list of federal agencies that would be required to convene these small business panels on proposed regulations that have a disproportionate impact on small businesses. There are other smart changes that are also being opposed by some Democrats on the Committee.

“SBA reauthorization has been a bipartisan exercise, except for these practical reforms to protect small businesses from regulatory overreach. Everyone should be for protecting startups and small businesses from inappropriate and excessive regulation, and I hope Democrats on the Committee reconsider their amendments opposing smart reforms,” said Kerrigan.

She added: “These helpful reforms combined with modernizing the scope of the Office of Advocacy are common-sense steps that will make the Office – and by extension the federal government – more accountable to the small business community. Small businesses and entrepreneurs will be very disappointed that some members serving on this Committee, whose purpose it is to support the small business community, may vote to strip these important protections,” added Kerrigan.

The Senate Committee meets today, July 24 at 2:30 p.m.

Related Resources:

Committee press release on groups supporting SBA reauthorization, July 23, 2019.



Karen Kerrigan


SBE Council is nonpartisan advocacy, research and education organization dedicated to protecting small business and promoting entrepreneurship. For 25 years, SBE Council has worked on and advanced a range of private sector and public policy initiatives to strengthen the ecosystem for strong startup activity and small business growth. Visit for additional information. Twitter: @SBECouncil



News and Media Releases