October 2022 Advocacy Update
Ashlyn Roberts, Prism Group
Senate Lawmakers Passed Continuing Resolution
Before the ending of the fiscal year on September 30, 2022, Congress passed a continuing resolution (CR) stopgap measure to keep the government funded until December 16, 2022. After Congress’ return from election recess (returning around Nov 9), the focus will turn towards finalizing an omnibus appropriations package for FY23. The passage of the CR maintains the current appropriations funding of the WBC program at $23 million.
Senate Turns Focus to NDAA
Senators return to Capitol Hill have begun to debate the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2023. More than 900 amendments have been filed on the bill covering nearly every issue possibly related to national defense and the defense industry, meaning there will likely be several key differences between the Senate and House versions.
The Department of Treasury has issued a request for information (RFI) the public to comment on how Treasury can use its authorities to fund TA to very small businesses (VSBs) and business enterprises owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals (SEDI-owned businesses) applying to SSBCI credit and investment programs and other jurisdiction and Federal programs that support small businesses. Responses must be received by October 20, 2022 to be assured of consideration.
WH Commitment to Underserved Small Businesses
The White House recently released commitment to working with private stakeholders to deliver capital and resources to underserved small businesses and the community lenders who serve them. This initiative builds on the Economic Opportunity Coalition (EOC) from earlier this year as a commitment to investing billions of dollars in underserved communities and small businesses emerging from the pandemic.
Among the commitments, include:
- The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) will issue a memorandum to federal agencies to set individualized goals for an unprecedented 12 percent of FY 2023 governmentwide procurement dollars to go to SDBs.
- Expected in October or November, the Small Business Administration (SBA) will propose a rule to expand its lender base by lifting the moratorium on new Small Business Lending Companies (SBLCs), which would allow new lenders to apply for a license to offer SBA-backed 7(a) small business loans.
- The Minority Business Development Agency (MDBA) will issue a $100 million notice of funding opportunity to provide technical assistance grants for entrepreneurship technical assistance providers to help businesses owned by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals (SEDIs) launch, scale and connect with growth capital.
Department of Labor Proposes Changes to Fair Labor Standards Act
Earlier this morning, the Department of Labor announced that it will release an official proposal to modify regulations in the Fair Labor Standards Act later this week, on October 13th. The proposal is aimed to re-evaluate the regulations which dictate whether an individual is classified as an independent contract worker or as a company employee. Comments on the proposed rule will be accepted for 45 days after the release on October 13th.
Treasury Disburses Another Round of SSBCI
The Department of the Treasury announced another round of State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI) funding to go toward Alaska, Idaho, Iowa, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, and Utah. So far, the Treasury has allocated $4.8 billion to 31 states. You can see each state and the full amount of funding here.
Producer Price Index Shows Inflation is Here to Stay
The Department of Labor released their producer price index numbers for September, which rose by 0.4% to an annual increase of 8.5% since last year. Core prices of consumer goods, like food, continued to rise, while the price of commodities, freight shipping and housing declined.
International Monetary Fund Changes Growth Forecast
Yesterday, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) lowered their growth prediction for 2023 by 0.2 percentage points to 2.7%. The report also projected there will be a global economic slowdown, with $4 trillion lost in global economic output until 2026. This slowdown could further increase prices and create economic instability, particularly in places like Europe where the war in Ukraine is limiting supply chains.
Federal Reserve Announces Second Consecutive .75 Interest Rate Increase
Following a report from the Consumer Price Index that inflation increased by .1 percent, to an annual percent of 8.3, in August 2022, the Federal Reserve foreshadowed a continuation of interest rates increases into early 2023. Although consumers are not expected to feel the immediate impact of yesterday’s .75% interest rate increase, they will feel a rise in the cost of paying off any credit-card balances, car loans, and taking out mortgages over the next several weeks.
DOL Unemployment Data
The Department of Labor released their weekly unemployment data on Thursday, September 21st. The total number of unemployment claims for the week ending on September 17th, was 213,000, up 5,000 from the previous week.
New Funding Announced for Microbusinesses
The Small Business Administration announced over $7.2 million in funding for the Program for Investment in Micro-Entrepreneurs (PRIME), representing over $1.7 million from its previous levels. The PRIME program awards will support various nonprofit organizations as they help low-income entrepreneurs access capital needed to start and grow a business. Learn more here. *Must be logged into Grants.gov to access
Minority Business Development Agency Receives Funding to Expand Business Centers
During last week’s Minority Enterprise Development week at the Department of Commerce, Secretary Raimondo announced an additional $4.7 million in funding to help the MBDA expand its network of business development centers across the country. Of this funding, the MBDA will use $2.6 million to expand procurement technical assistance services to over 26 business centers. New states to receive MBDA centers include Arkansas, Indiana, Oregon, South Carolina, Utah, and Wisconsin. Read more here.
SBA Support for Local Infrastructure Contractors
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) announces streamlined support for local infrastructure contractors with an improved Surety Bond process. “Streamlining and simplifying these Work-in-Process submissions will make it easier for more small businesses—especially those in historically underserved communities —to participate in the SBG program, seize these infrastructure opportunities, and continue to lead the way in building a stronger, more equitable, and resilient American economy,” said SBA Administrator Guzman. Read more here.
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