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Step Improvement Act of 2020

Floor Speech

Date: Sept. 14, 2020
Location: Washington, DC


Mr. SPANO. Mr. Speaker, I always appreciate coming to the floor to talk about the good bipartisan work that we do in the Small Business Committee. It truly has been an honor serving on that committee this term.

I rise today in support of H.R. 6133, the STEP Improvement Act of 2020, which reauthorizes the SBA's State Trade Expansion Program, or STEP, for the next 4 years.

The program helps small exporters expand their markets, grow their businesses, and create new American jobs.

In fiscal year 2019, STEP helped small businesses export over $974 million in goods and services, which yielded a 54-to-1 return on investment.

The program enhances State and Federal export efforts, facilitates coordination of services, and expands the resources available to our Nation's small businesses.

Last year, the committee held a series of hearings to evaluate the STEP program.

In March 2019, representatives from the U.S. Government Accountability Office and the SBA's Office of Inspector General identified program management weaknesses and recommended reforms.

In June 2019, we received testimony from State administrators and small businesses that have successfully utilized STEP funds.

Our committee has carefully reviewed oversight reports and stakeholder feedback to determine the appropriate path in this reauthorization.

With these recommendations in mind, H.R. 6133 streamlines the program's administration from the application process to the reporting requirements.

Thousands of our small businesses are competing in the global economy through the STEP program. Now more than ever, we need to support small businesses as our economy is recovering.

In my home State of Florida, more than 55,000 small businesses export their goods and services, and this program will help them and their employees.

In passing H.R. 6133, we maximize the potential of our small exporters.

Thank you to the gentlewoman from Iowa (Ms. Finkenauer) for working with me on this piece of legislation and her commitment to bipartisan cooperation.

I urge my colleagues to support this bill.