Finkenauer Small Businesses Bill Passes House, Is First Legislation Passed by New Member of Congress

January 14, 2019
Press Release
Bipartisan bill helps small businesses apply for government technology grants and contracts

WASHINGTON, DC— Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed Congresswoman Abby Finkenauer’s (IA-1) first bill, which will help bring federal investment to small businesses in rural America. It is the first bill authored by a freshman member of Congress, and she is now the youngest woman in history to pass a bill in Congress.

Click here for a video of Finkenauer speaking in support of her bill on the House floor. The text of her remarks follows this release.

“I’m proud to pass bipartisan legislation with Congressman Curtis that will give the next generation of Iowans opportunities to innovate, especially in the rural areas we represent,” said Finkenauer. “I’m looking forward to continuing to reach across the aisle to deliver results for hardworking Iowa families.”

To help put innovative small firms on the map, Congress created the Small Business Innovative Research program (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program. These initiatives provide capital and other support to allow small businesses to engage in federal research and development with the goal of commercialization.

“I am proud that my home state of Utah has fostered a thriving tech hub and innovation marketplace, where the tech industry grew faster last year than any other state in the nation,” said Representative Curtis. “But there is still more work to be done there and across the country. This bill reinforces my commitment to small business success by stimulating technological innovation through the Small Business Innovation Research, or SBIR program. I was pleased to work with Rep. Abby Finkenauer to create this legislation that will ensure these small businesses have a voice in the procurement process and can compete on a level playing field to have a chance at success.”

The bill would help more small businesses access the SBIR and STTR programs, especially in rural communities. Specifically, the bill would require acquisition personnel to conduct outreach so more small firms can benefit from the SBIR and STTR programs. 

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I rise in support of my bill H.R. 246, the Stimulating Innovation through Procurement Act of 2019.

My bill helps small businesses compete for government contracts and research grants and gives them the opportunity to grow and innovate.

I grew up in a small town in northeast Iowa and I’m proud to represent communities like mine in Congress. The Iowans I know want to be able to stay and build a life in the communities that raised them. I’m proud to introduce legislation that will give the next generation of Iowans opportunities to innovate in our state.

Too often, small businesses—especially rural ones—get locked out of competition for government contracts. This bill ensures that agency procurement officers will be more directly involved in the process, helping small businesses pursue research that lets them compete for these opportunities. 

HR 246 requires Procurement Center Representatives and other contracting officials to assist small businesses in the Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer programs. Making this a statutory mandate levels the playing field for our small businesses, ensuring they won’t be at a disadvantage during the bidding process. It means that when a small business owner in Marion or Manly has a great idea that will create jobs in their community, our government is actually making it easier—not harder—for them to grow and innovate.

And when Congress supports small businesses, it strengthens communities like mine in northeast Iowa.

I thank my colleague and co-sponsor, Congressman Curtis, and I thank Chairwoman Velazquez for her support and leadership of innovative small business. I urge Members to support this legislation.

I yield back.