Just last week, I had the opportunity to listen to CA48’s Congressman, Harley Rouda. He spoke about the lack of knowledge on bipartisan bills; how agreement doesn’t make a good headline. I like to consider myself up-to-date on legislation, but considering this fact, I got to thinking. What bipartisan bills, if any, have been introduced by a Representative from Southern California? Even better, which bills have been passed?
I set out to find some of these bills, particularly focusing on Congressman Rouda and his incredible legislative success. As he told the audience last week, Congressman Rouda has introduced more legislation than any other freshman member of Congress. And one of his bills, H.R. 206 (also known as the Encouraging Small Business Innovation Act), passed the House in January.
My initial thought was, Wow! Congressman Rouda has already passed a bill to help CA48 residents. But then I thought for a moment longer…what exactly does this bill do? So, I sat down before my beloved laptop and got to researching. What I found was fascinating.
Let me first start by broadly stating the function of H.R. 206: adding new investment to the Small Business Innovation Research Program (SBIR) and the Small Business Technology Transfer Program (STTR). These two programs focus on growing small businesses through federal funding endeavors. Specifically, they are each dedicated to supporting scientific excellence and technological innovation. So then, how does H.R. 206 impact SBIR and STTR?
H.R. 206 is centered around the type of investment available to the SBIR and STTR programs. H.R. 206 allows Small Business Investment Companies to pose as potential investors in the SBIR and STTR programs.
The SBIR and STTR programs have invested over $34 million in CA48 businesses since 2011. With the approval of H.R. 206, these programs will be able to invest more in small businesses centered in CA48 and across the country. directly empowering small businesses as a whole.
H.R. 206 also makes an effort to increase diversity in small businesses. Particularly in the SBIR and STTR programs, diversity and competition have been lacking factors in small businesses. H.R. 206 allows agencies to use a portion of their SBIR allocation to target and encourage women-owned and minority-owned businesses, an important step towards increasing diversity.
Congressman Rouda, a former businessman, worked across the aisle to unanimously pass this bill in January. H.R. 206 is one of the many bipartisan bills that Congressman Rouda has worked on in an effort to grow small businesses in CA48.
As the daughter of an entrepreneur, this bill hits home. It’s fantastic that CA48 (my old district) has a Congressman working on bipartisan legislation focused on the needs of the residents.
This bill currently sits in the Senate, where it has been referred to the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship.