U.S. House committee approves Puerto Rico Small Business Contracting Assistance bill
SAN JUAN – Resident Commissioner Jenniffer González (R-PR) announced Wednesday the U.S. House Committee on Small Business’ approval of House Resolution 5178, or the Puerto Rico Small Business Contracting Assistance Act of 2018.
The bill, introduced by Rep. Nydia Velázquez (D-NY) and of which González joined as co-author, seeks to amend the Small Business Act to provide for small businesses in Puerto Rico, thus promoting federal contracting, as a means to boost the island’s economy.
Among other things, the bill provides a credit for meeting contracting goals. If a U.S. agency awards a prime contract to a Puerto Rico business during the period beginning on the date of the amendment’s enactment and ending four years after, the value of the contract will be doubled for purposes of determining compliance with the goals for procurement contracts during such period.
The measure also authorizes the Small Business Administration (SBA) to transfer technology or surplus property to small businesses with their main office in Puerto Rico during the period that the island’s fiscal board exists.
In addition, it authorizes SBA to grant performance-based credits for purposes of future hiring of companies that subcontract small businesses in Puerto Rico. It allows granting credits for expenses incurred in training local businesses.
The measure provides for the granting of two additional subcontracts for small businesses under the Mentoring Program. Currently, only three contracts are allowed, thus the measure would increase subcontracts to protected businesses to five.
“I thank the Chairman of the Small Business Committee, Steve Chabot [R-OH], and Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez, for taking the initiative and for approving in committee this bill that promotes the stability of our small businesses.
“Puerto Rican companies face countless obstacles when competing for a federal contract, leaving basically no opportunity to obtain it. This has been one of our struggles to promote the economic development of Puerto Rico, considering that small businesses represent a quarter of our workforce on the Island,” González said in a statement.
After the hearing Wednesday, the Small Business Committee is preparing to file the report on H.R. 5178, to be voted on by the House.