Spano's STEP Improvement Bill Passes House
Today, U.S. Representative Ross Spano's (FL-15), the sole Florida Representative on the House Small Business Committee, released the following statement after his bipartisan bill, H.R. 6133, the "STEP Improvement Act of 2020' passed the House of Representatives. The bill aims to increase the number of American small businesses that export and raise the value of existing small business exporters-- thus increasing demand and creating jobs:
"As our economy recovers, it's critical to provide certainty and assistance to American small business looking to export and expand their operations," said Spano. Adding, "The STEP Act streamlines the process for small businesses to compete internationally and eliminates burdensome red tape, creating more good jobs for Americans."
The "Small Business Jobs Act of 2010' authorized the Small Business Administration (SBA) to establish a three-year State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) pilot grant initiative. Given the success of the pilot program in helping small businesses nationwide increase exports, H.R. 6133 reauthorizes STEP for four additional years (Fiscal Year 2021-24) and allots $30 million in yearly funding.
Rep. Spano's bill, co-introduced with Rep. Abby Finkenauer (D-IA), will improve the operation of the program by creating a standardized application process, increase grant spending flexibility, further improve communication between SBA and states and enhance performance metrics for reporting to Congress.
Exports are key to Florida's economy. It is estimated that more than 232,000 jobs are supported by international trade and over 56,000 small businesses export their goods and services. In 2018, Florida was the 8th largest exporter in the United States.
The bill passed the U.S. House of Representatives with unanimous approval.