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WIPP Works in Washington: 4 Things for WOSBs to Watch for the Rest of 2019

Posted By Elizabeth Sullivan, WIPP Advocacy Team, Tuesday, September 3, 2019
Updated: Thursday, September 5, 2019
Elizabeth Sullivan

Congress will be back in Washington next week, and there is certainly no shortage of items on their to-do list. One of the questions our policy team has been asked time and time again during this month-long recess is our prediction for what is to come for the rest of 2019. Will the government be funded? Will the Senate Small Business Committee’s reauthorization bill move forward? Here are four things you should be watching in the coming months:


  1. Funding the Government (Appropriations)

    Here we are again – headed back from August recess without clarity on whether or when the government will be funded for FY2020. If you are a federal contractor, you probably want to pull your hair out. Here is where Congress is in the process so far. The House has passed two packages, or “minibus” bills, which include: minibus 1 (H.R. 2740) - Defense, Energy & Water, Labor-HHS-Education, State-Foreign Operations and minibus 2 (H.R. 3055) - Agriculture-FDA, Commerce-Justice-Science, Interior-Environment, Military Construction-VA, Transportation-HUD. Due to tensions around funding a border wall and legislator pay raises, the House has not passed the Legislative Branch and Homeland Security bills. So technically, with most of the bills passed, the House is not in terrible shape.

    However, the Senate is woefully behind – they have not started drafting any appropriations bills. If you remember the budget deal wrangling a few weeks ago, the Senate was waiting on this agreement to proceed. It was signed into law right before legislators returned home for August recess. Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Richard Shelby (R-AL) has indicated  that the Committee hopes to pass a three-bill spending package before the end of the fiscal year, which ends on September 30.

    Not to beat a dead horse, but quick refresher on the appropriations process. There are two types of bills we will keep talking about: regular appropriation bills and continuing resolutions (CR). Continuing resolutions continue the same level of funding from the previous fiscal year into the next fiscal year – a headache for federal contractors. If 12 appropriations bills are not signed into law or a CR is not passed before the new fiscal year begins on October 1, then comes a government shutdown. Many Members of Congress have indicated that there is not an appetite for a government shutdown after the political mess the month-long partial shutdown caused into the beginning of this year. The usual pattern is that there is some type of CR from the beginning of the new fiscal year until around the holidays where the Members of Congress compromise before the clock strikes “Christmas.”

  2. Senate SBA Reauthorization

    Our Action Alert for August recess asked you to tell your Senators to urge the Senate Small Business Committee to move forward with the Small Business Administration (SBA) reauthorization bill. Thank you to many of you who did this – your voices are key to keeping up the pressure for this to happen. While I can speculate on when I think this will happen, I would rather say that it is important to keep an eye out on WIPP’s communications for the current status of the bill and any additional action we need you to take. This bill has too many of WIPP’s priorities included to let it fail.
  3. National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA)

    It has been awhile since we mentioned the NDAA, but it is still something to watch for the rest of the year. The Senate passed its $750 billion bill (S. 1790) on June 27 and the House passed its $733 billion measure (H.R. 2500) on July 12. The bill is now in the conference phase where the House and Senate have to work out the differences before sending a compromised bill to the President for signature. There are a few sticking points that could complicate the upcoming negotiations, including border wall funding and immigration, military action against Iran, and nuclear warheads. There is no shortage of provisions important to the industrial base – small business contractors – in these bills. Stay tuned for the negotiation outcomes. 

  4. 2020 Elections

    Although there is an abundance of news coverage on next year’s Presidential election, I would be remiss if I did not at least mention what is up next. Currently the Democrats are heavily in debate-mode until the end of the year trying to dwindle down the number of potential nominees. Going into the September 12 debate, there are now 10 candidates who qualify, down from the initial 21 hopefuls. Just a little throwback, in the 2016 election there were 17 Republicans vying for the nomination and 6 Democrats. So, what are the next steps? The final Democratic debate before the primary elections begin will take place in December – the first primary will take place in February in New Hampshire. On the Republican side, former Illinois Representative Joe Walsh and former Governor of Massachusetts Bill Weld have come forward to challenge President Trump. While there are no formal debates for the Republicans, state rules dictate which of these candidates will appear on the primary ballots. 

    In past Presidential elections, WIPP has held sessions at both the Democrat and Republican National Conventions. For those of you who were members in 2016, this is when we debuted the 10 Things Candidates Need to Know about Women Entrepreneurs. Look for 2020 convention activity in the future. It is also important to note that 2020 is not just about the Presidency. The entire U.S. House of Representatives is up for reelection and a third of the U.S. Senate. No matter your party affiliation, make sure you are supporting women candidates that have thrown their hat into the ring.

While the coming months will be plenty busy, it is important to remember that your voice matters. Respond to the call to action. Meet with local Congressional staff. Engage with WIPP Wednesdays. Our work on behalf of women entrepreneurs around the country cannot be done in a vacuum – we need your voice to push policy changes important to WOSBs over the finish line. Join us on the September Policy Update webinar next week to learn more! 

Tags:  Advocacy 

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