Wrapping up his first three months as chairman of the U.S. Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee this week, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., advanced three bills and a nomination from the Trump administration this week, sending all of them to the full Senate.
In its first markup session this year, the committee backed without opposition the “Small Business Cyber Training Act” which is sponsored by Rubio and cosponsored by U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-NH. The bill “would create a training program for small business development centers (SBDCs) to prepare counselors in cyber planning assistance" and “would require SBDCs to have employees certified in cyber strategy counseling for small businesses.”
The committee also advanced the “SBA Cyber Awareness Act" from Rubio and U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Mary., the top Democrat on the committee, which “would require the Small Business Administration (SBA) to develop a cyber strategy, examine its IT system components’ country of origin, and report on breaches and threats to the Small Business Committees.”
With the support of Rubio and U.S. Sen. Cory Booker, D-NJ, U.S. Sen. John Kenney, R-La., was able to get his “Rebuilding Small Businesses After Disaster Act" through the committee. Kennedy’s proposal “would make permanent changes to collateral requirements for unsecured SBA disaster loans for physical damages.”
“Small businesses are most vulnerable when they are hit by unexpected incidents like cyberattacks and natural disasters,” Rubio said this week. “With more than half of small businesses plagued by phishing attacks, Congress must act to help entrepreneurs better prepare against cybercrime. The bills reported today address the urgent need for better cybersecurity for businesses and for our federal agencies.”
The committee also threw its support behind David Tryon to be chief counsel for the Office of Advocacy of the U.S. Small Business Administration.
First elected to the Senate in 2010 and winning reelection to it in 2016, Rubio took over the Small Business Committee at the start of the year.
“As chairman, my top priority is to pass bipartisan legislation that will expand economic opportunities for small businesses and entrepreneurs. I will continue to seek ways to improve Small Business Administration (SBA) resources intended for homeowners and businesses that face hardship after hurricanes, floods, and other disasters that threaten their livelihoods,” Rubio said when he took over the committee in January. “I will also examine the effectiveness of every SBA program and conduct thorough oversight to ensure its programs, and taxpayer dollars, are properly administered. With Administrator Linda McMahon and members of the committee, we will work to advance a bipartisan and robust small business agenda.
“Finally, I will continue to fight against China’s blatant interference in our economy. We must do everything possible to safeguard American small businesses from China’s industrial espionage and coercion, which threatens our very economic framework and national prosperity,” Rubio added. “To keep our country competitive in the global economy, Congress must pass legislation that encourages American entrepreneurs to innovate, thrive, and grow. As chairman of the Small Business Committee in the 116th Congress, I will work with my colleagues to make sure they can.”
When he took the gavel in January, Rubio also penned a piece for Fox News on what his agenda for the committee would be.